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VOL. I. 



MO. 8S curr-rrmmmt. 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the yetr 1841, by 

Harper &. Brothies, 
In the Cleric's OfTice of the Southern District of New-York. 

■*■ ■ ■'- - — t^^m^^^^mmt^^r- *■ ••w«~' 


country no longer exists ; the dark clouds which hung 
over it have passed away, civil war has ceased, and 
Central America may be welcomed back among re- 

Nt»-rcrk, Mag, 1941. 


How to begin.—- Commencement of £z|»loratioDt.— Intereet created bj theee 
Ruins.— Viflit from the Alcalde. — Vezatioiie Snepidons.— A welcome Viaiter. 
— Letter from General Caacara.— Baying a Citj.— Viait from Don Oregorio'a 
Family.— Diatribution of Medidnea Page 117 


Surrey of the Rnina.— Account of them by Hnarroa and by Colonel Oalindo. 
—Their Sttoataon.— Their Bztent-- Plan of Smrey.— Pyramidal Simetniea.— 
Bowa of Death'k Heada.— Remarkable Portiait— '* Idola."— Character of the 
Bngra^inga.— Rahgee of Tarracea.— A Portrait — Coortyarda.— Cnriona Altar. 
—Tabieta of Hiarogjyphica.— Gigantic Head. — Stone Qnarriea.— Mora Appli- 
canta for Medicine.— "Idols*' and Altars.— Boried Imager— Material of the 
Stataea.— Idols originally painted.— Circular Altar.— Antiquity (^ Copan . 130 


Separation. — An AdTenture.— Copan River.— Don Clementino.— A Wedding.-^ 
▲ Sapper.r-A Wedding BalL— Baying a Male.— The Sierra.— View from the 
Top.— Esqinipalas.— The Cora.— Hospitable Reception.— Church oi Esquipo- 
laa.— Responsibility oi the Cura.- Mountain of Quezaltapeque.— A narrow Ea- 
cape.— San Jacinta— Reception by the Padre.— A Village F^te. — An Ambus- 
cade.— Motagua River.— Village of San Rosalie.— A Death Scene . .161 


Chimalapa.- The Cabildo.— A Scene of Revelry.— Gu8tatoya.—A Hunt for Rob 
bers. — Approach to Guatimala.— Beautiful Scenery.— Volcanoes of Agua and 
Fuega— First View oi the City.— Entry into the City.— First Impressions.— 
The Diplomatic Residence.— Parties in Central America.— Murder of Vice- 
president Flores.— Political State of Guatimala.— An embarraasing Situation. 
—The Conatituent Assembly.— Military Police 163 


Hacienda of Narengo.— Laxoing. — Diplomatic Correapondence.— Formulae. — 
FAte of La Concepdon. —Taking the Black VeU. — A Countrywoman. — Re- 
nouncing the World.— Fireworks, dec— Proceasion in honour of the Virgin.— 
Another Exhibition oi Fireworks.- A fiery BulL— Insolent Soldiery . . 200 


The Proveeor.— News of the Day, bow published in Gnatimala.— Viait to th» 
Convent of La Conoepcicm.— The Farewell of the Nun.— Carrara.- Sketch 
of his Life.— The Cholera.— InsurTectiona.—Carrera heada the Insurgenta.— 
Hia Appearance in Guatimala.— Captuxe of the City.— Carrara TriumphanL— 
Arrival of Moratan.— Hoatilitiea.— Puraoit of Canera.— Hia Defeat.- He ia 
again vppemMt^— Intarviaw with Oamn^— His Chanctar • flU 



Putjr to Mlzco.— A Scene of Ple&tars.'— ProeetrioD la Honoor of the Piftnm 
Stint of Mixca— Flreworke.— A Bombaidinent.-- Smoking Segm.— A Night- 
brawl.— Suffering and Sorrow.— A Cockfight— A Walk in the Suborbe.— Sun- 
day Amnaement8.—Reliini to the City • ••... Page 251 


Ezcnnlon to La Andgna and the Paeiiie Ocean.— Saa Pabla— Monntain Scene- 
ly.- El Rio Penaatira^La Antigna.— Account of ita Deatniction.— An Octo- 
genarian.- The Cathedral— San Jnan Obiapo.— Santa Maria.— Volcano de 
Agua.— Aacent of the Mountain.— The Crater.- A lofty Meeting-plaee.— The 
Deacent— Return to La Antigua.— CuItiTation of CochineaL — Claaaic Oronnd. 
— Ciudad 7ieja.— Ita Foundation.— Viait from Indiana.— Departure from Ciodad 
Vieja.— First Sight of the Pacific.— AloteDaDgo.F—Volcan del Fuega.—£8culnt- 
]a.--^an8et S€ene.^Maaagua.— Poet of latapa.— Anital at the Pacific . 264 


The Return.— Hunt for a Mule.— Orero.— Sfaaagua.- Eacuintl^-Falla of San 
Pedro Martyr. — Bficbetoya River. — Village of San Pedro.— A^ajor-domo.— 
San Cristoral.— Amatitan.— A roring American.— Entry into Ouatimala.— Let- 
ter from Mr. Catherwood. — Chriatmaa Eve.- Arrival of Mr. Catherwood. — 
Plaxa de Toroa.— A Bullfight— The Theatre.— Official Buakieaa.- The Ari». 
tocracy of Ouatimala.— State of the Country.— Newyear'a Day.— Ferodty of 
Party 290 


Hunt for a Oovemment.- Diplomatic Difficultiea.— Departure frtim Ouatimala. 
—Lake of Amatitan.— Attack of Fever and Ague.— Overa— latapa.- A French 
Merchant Ship.— Port of Acajutla.— Illneas.— Zonzonate.— The Oovemment 
found.— Viait to the Volcano of Izalco.— Course of the Eruptions.- Descent 
from the Volcano 310 


Sickness and Mutiny.— Illness of Captain Jay. — Critical Situation.- Rough 
Nursing.— A Countryman in Trouble.— Dolphins. — Succession of Volcanoes. 
—Gulf of Nicoya. — Harbour of Caldera. — Another Countryman. — Another 
Patient— Hacienda of San Felippe. — Mountain of Aguacate.— **Zillenthal 
Patent Self-acting Cold Amalgamation Machine."— Gold Mines.— View from 
the Mountain Top 331 


La Oarita. — Alihuela. — A friendly People.— Heredia.— Rio Segonda — Coffee- 
plantations of San Jos^. — The Sacrsment for the Dying.— A hsppy Meeting. — 
Travelling Embarrassments.— Quarters in a Convent— Senor CariUo, Chief of 


Ylll COMTElfTS. 

State.— Vicisdtudet of Fortone.— Visit to Cartago.— Tret Rioa.— An unex- 
pected Meeting. — Ascent of the Volcano of Caitaga — The Crater.— View of 
the two Seas.— Descent — Stroll through Cartago.— ▲ Burial— Another at- 
tack of Fever and Ague.— A Vagabond.— Cultivatioii of Caiiee . Page 349 


Departure for Oustimala.— Espana.— Town of Crosta Rica.— The Barranca.— 
History of a Countryman.- Wild Scenery.- Hacienda of Aranjuex.— River 
Lagartoa.— Cerros of Collita— Herds of Deer.— Santa Ron.— Don Juan Jos4 
Bonilla. — An Earthquake. — A Cattle Farm. — Bagaaea. — Guanacaate.— An 
agreeable Welcome. — Belle of Guanacaate.— Pleasant Lodgings. — Cordilleras. 
—Volcanoes of Rincon and OroaL— Hacienda of San Teresa. — Sunset View. 
— ^The Pacific again 374 


The Florae.- The San Juan.— Nature'a Sditude.— Pdmitrre Cookery.- Harbour 
of San Juan.— Route of the Great Canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans.— Nicaragua.— Survey for the CanaL— Lake of Nicaragua.— Plan of 
the Canal— Lockage.— Elstimate of Cost.— Former Efforts to construct the 
Canal— Ita Jrivantages.— Oentrsl Amimcan Hospitality.— Tierra Caliente. — 
Horrors of Civil War .... 396 

cK. o. clbac (u) 









Deptftnre.— The yojage.^ArriTal at Baliie.— Mixing of Coloura.— OoremiiMnt 
HoQae.~ColoiMl M'Donaid.— Origin of Balise.— Negro Scboola.— Scene in a 
GoQit-room.— Law witboat Lawyert.— The Barracka.— Ezcaniao in a Pit- 
pan. — A Beginning of Honoora.— Honoora accumulating.— Departure from 
of Oflke. 

Being intrusted by the President with a Special 
Confidential Mission to Central America, on Wednes- 
day, the third of October, 1839, I embarked on board 
the British brig Mary Ann, Hampton, master, for the 
Bay of Honduras. The brig was lying in the North 
River, with her anchor apeak and sails loose, and in 
a few minutes, in company with a large whahng-ship 
bound for the Pacific, we were under way. It was 
before seven o'clock in the morning : the streets and 
yrharves were still ; the Battery was desolate ; and, at 
the moment of leaving it on a voyage of uncertain du- 
ration, seemed more beautiful than I had ever known 
it before. 

Opposite the Quarantine Ground, a few friends who 
had accompanied me on board left me ; in an hour the 
pilot followed ; at dusk the dark outline of the high- 
lands of Neversink was barely visible, and the next 
morning we were fairly at sea. 

My only fellow-passenger was Mr. Catherwood, an 

Vol. L— B 

experienced traveller and personal friend, who had 
passed more than ten years of his life in diligently 
studying the antiquities of the Old World ; and whom, 
as one familiar with the remains of ancient architec- 
tural greatness, I engaged, immediately on receiving 
my appointment, to accompany me in exploring the 
ruins of Central America. 

Hurried on by a strong northeaster, on the ninth 
we were within the region of the trade-winds, on 
the tenth within the tropics, and on the eleventh, 
with the thermometer at 80% but a refreshing breeze, 
we were moving gently between Cuba and St. Domin- 
go, with both in full sight. For the rest, after eigh- 
teen days of boisterous weather, drenched with tropi- 
cal rains, on the twenty-ninth we were driven inside 
the Lighthouse reef, and, avoiding altogether the reg- 
ular pilot-ground, at midnight reached St. George's 
Bay, about twenty miles from Balize. A large brig, 
loaded with mahogany, was lying at anchor, with a 
pilot on board, waiting for favourable weather to put 
to sea. The pilot had with him his son, a lad abou{ 
sixteen, cradled on the water, whom Captain Hampton 
knew, and determined to take on board. 

It was full moonlight when the boy mounted the 
deck and gave us the pilot's welcome. I could not 
distinguish his features, but I could see that he was not 
white ; and his voice was as soft as a woman's. He 
took his place at the wheel, and, loading the brig with 
canvass, told us of the severe gales on the coast, of 
the fears entertained for our safety, of disasters and 
shipwrecks, and of a pilot who, on a night which we 
well remembered, had driven his vessel over a sunken 

At seven o'clock the next morning we saw Balize, 



appearing, if there be no sin in comparing it with cities 
consecrated by time and venerable associations, like 
Venice and Alexandrea, to rise out of the water. A 
range of white houses extended a mile along the shore, 
terminated at one end by the Government House, and 
at the other by the barracks, and intersected by the 
river Balize, the bridge across which formed a pictu- 
resque object ; while the fort on a little island at the 
mouth of the river, the spire of a Gothic church behind j^ 
the Government House, and groves of cocoanut-trees, 
which at that distance reminded us of the palm-trees 
of Egypt, gave it an appearance of actual beauty. Four 
ships, three brigs, sundry schooners, bungoes, canoesi 
and a steamboat, were riding at anchor in the harbour ; 
alongside the vessels were rafts of mahogany ; far out, 
a negro was paddling a log of the same costly timber ; 
and the government dory which boarded us when we 
came to anchor was made of the trunk of a mahogany- 

We landed in front of the warehouse of Mr. Coffin, 
the consignee of the vessel. There was no hotel in the 
place, but Mr. Coffin undertook to conduct us to a lady 
who, he thought, could accommodate us with lodgings. 

The heavy rain from which we had suffered at sea 
had reached Balize. The streets were flooded, and in 
places there were large puddles, which it was difficult 
to cross. At the extreme end of the principal street 

we met the " lady^^ Miss , a mulatto woman, who 

could only give us board. Mr. Coffin kindly offered 
the use of an unoccupied house on' the other side of the 
river to sleep in, and we returned. 

By this time I had twice passed the whole length of 
the principal street, and the town seemed in the entire 
possession of blacks. The bridge, the market-place, 



the streets and stores were thronged with them, and I 
might have fancied myself in the capital of a negro re- 
public. They were a fine-looking race, tall, straight, 
and athletic, with skins black, smooth, and glossy as 
velvet, and well dressed, the men in white cotton shirts 
and trousers, with straw hats, and the women in white 
frocks with short sleeves and broad red borders, and 
adorned with large red earrings and necklaces ; and I 
could not help remarking that the frock was their only 
article of dress, and that it was the fashion of these 
sable ladies to drop this considerably from off the right 
shoulder, and to carry the skirt in the left hand, and 
raise it to any height necessary for crossing puddles. 

On my way back I stopped at the house of a mer- 
chant, whom I found at what is called a second break- 
fast. The gentleman sat on one side of the table and 
his lady on the other. At the head was a British offi- 
cer, and opposite him a mulatto ; on his left was an- 
other officer, and opposite him also a mulatto. By 
chance a place was made for me between the two col- 
ouAd gentlemen. Some of my countrymen, perhaps, 
would have hesitated about taking it, but I did not ; 
l^th were well dressed, well educated, and polite. 
They talked of their mahogany works, of England, 
hunting, horses, ladies, and wine ; and before I had 
been an hour in Balize I learned that the great work 
f{ practical amalgamation, the subject of so much an- 
gry controversy at home, ha4 been going on quietly 
for generations ; that colour was considered mere mat- 
ter of taste ; and that some of the most respectable in- 
habitants had l)lack wives and mongrel children, whom 
they educated with as much care, and made money 
for with as much zeal, as if their skins were perfectly 


I hardly knew whether to be shocked or amused at 
this condition of society ; and, in the mean time, joined 
Mr. Catherwood, to visit the house offered by Mr. Cof- 
fin. It was situated on the opposite side of the river, 
and the road to it was ankle deep in mud. At the 
gate was a large puddle, which we cleared by a jump ; 
the house was built on piles about two feet high, and 
underneath was water nearly a foot deep. We as- 
cended on a plank to the sill of the door, and entered 
a large room occupying the whole of the first floor, and 
perfectly empty. The upper story was tenanted by a 
family of negroes ; in the yard was a house swarming 
with negroes ; and all over, in the yard and in front, 
were picturesque groups of little negroes of both sexes, 
and naked as they were born. We directed the room 
to be swept and our luggage brought there ; and, as 
we left the house, we remembered Ca'jptain Hampton's 
description before our arrival, and felt the point of his 
concluding remark, that Balize was the last place 

made. ^ 

We returned ; and, while longing for the comfort of 
a good hotel, received through Mr. Goff, the consul of 
the United States, an invitation from his exceUency, 
Colonel McDonald, to the Government House, and ih*- 
formation that he would send the government dory to 
the brig for our luggage. As this was the first ap- 
pointment I had ever held from government, and I was 
not sure of ever holding another, I determined to make 
the most of it, and accepted at once his excellency's 

There was a steamboat for Yzabal, the port of Guati- 
mala, lying at Balize ; and, on my way to the Gov- 
ernment House, I called upon Senor Comyano, the 
agent, who told me that she was to go up the next day ; 



• % 


whioh protect the harbour of Balize. The place where 
he built his log huts and fortalice is still pointed out ; 
but their site is now occupied by warehouses. Strength- 
ened by a close aUiance with the Indians of the Mos- 
cheto shore, and by the adhesion of numerous British 
adventurers, who descended upon the coast of Honduras 
for the purpose of cutting mahogany, he set the Span- 
iards at defiance. Ever since, the territory of Balize 
has been the subject of negotiation and contest, and to 
this day the people of Central America claim it as their 
own. It has grown by the exportation of mahogany ; 
but, as the trees in the neighbourhood have been almost 
all cut down, and Central America is so impoverished 
by wars that it offers but a poor market for British 
goods, the place is languishing, and will probably con- 
tinue to dwindle away until the enterprise of her mer- 
chants discovers other channels of trade. 

At this day it contains a population of six' thousand, 
of which four thousand are blacks, who are employed by 
the merchants in gangs as mahogany cutters. Their 
condition was always better than that of plantation 
slaves ; even before the act for the general abolition of 
slavery throughout the British dominions, they were 
actually free ; and, on the thirty-first of August, 1839, 
a year before the time appointed by the act, by a gen- 
eral meeting and agreement of proprietors, even the 
nominal yoke of bondage was removed. 

The event was celebrated, says the Honduras Alma- 
nac, by religious ceremonies, processions, bands of 
music, and banners with devices : '^ The sons of Ham 
respect the memory of Wilberforce ;" " The Queen, 
God bless her ;" " McDonald forever ;" " Civil and 
religious liberty all over the world." Nelson Schaw, 
^^ a snowdrop of the first water," continues the Alma- 



nacy ^^ advanced to his excellency^ Colonel M^Donaldi 
and spoke as follows : ' On the part of my emancipa- 
ted brothers and sisters, I venture to approach your ex- 
cellency, to entreat you to thank our most gracious 
Queen for all that she has done for us. We will pray 
for her ; we will fight for her ; and, if it is necessary, 
we will die for her. We thank your excellency for all 
you have done for us. God bless your excellency ! 
God bless her excellency, Mrs. McDonald, and all the 
royal family ! Come, my countymen, hurrah ! Dance, 
ye black rascals ; the flag of England flies over your 
heads, and every rustle of its folds knocks the fetters 
off* the limbs of the poor slave. Hubbabboo Cochalo- 
rum Gee !' " 

The negro schools stand in the rear of the Govern- 
ment House, and the boys' department consisted of 
about two hundred, from three to fifteen years of age, 
and of every degree of tinge, from nearly white down 
to two little native Africans bearing on their cheeks the 
scars of cuts made by their parents at home. These 
last were taken from on board a slave-ship captured by 
an English cruiser, brought into Balize, and, as provi- 
ded for by the laws, on a drawing by lot, fell to the 
share of a citizen, who, entering into certain covenants 
for good treatment, is entitled to their services until 
they are twenty-one years old. Unfortunately, the 
master was not present, and I had no opportunity of 
•Jv \ learning the result of his experience in teaching ; but 
1 I in this school, I was told, the brightest boys, and those 
who had improved most, were those who had in them 
the most white blood. 

The mistress of the female department had had great 
, experience in teaching ; and she told us that, though 
' she had had many clever black girls under her charge. 



the last place madei when I tell them that there 
not a single lawyer in the plac^, and never had been ; 
but, lest some of my enterprising professional brethren 
should forthwith be tempted to pack their trunks for m 
descent upon the exempt city, I consider i% my 4pty to 
add that I do not believe there is the least chance foor 

As there is no bar to prepare men for the bench, the 
judges, of course, are not lawyers. Of the five then 
sitting, two were merchants, one a mahogany cutter, 
and the mulatto, second to none of the others in char- 
acter or qualifications, a doctor. This court is the 
highest tribunal for the trial of civil causes, and has 
jurisdiction of all amounts above £15. Balize is a 
place of large commercial transactions ; contracts are 
daily made and broken, or misunderstood, which re- 
quire the intervention of some proper tribunal to inter- 
pret and compel their fulfilment. And there was no 
absence of litigation ; the calendar was large, and the 
courtroom crowded. The first cause called was upon 
an account, when the defendant did not appear, and a 
verdict was taken by default. In the next, the plain- 
tiff stated his case, and swore to it ; the defendant an- 
swered, called witnesses, and the cause was submitted 
to the jury. There was no case of particular interest. 
In one the parties became excited, and the defendant 
interrupted the plaintiff repeatedly, on which the latter, 
putting his hand upon the shoulder of his antagonist, 
said, in a coaxing way, " Now don't, George ; wait a 
little, you shall have your turn. Don't interrupt me, 
and I won't you." All was done in a familiar and 
c-olloquial way ; the parties were more or less known 
to each other, and judges and jurors were greatly in- 
fluenced by knowledge of general character. I re- 



marked that regularly the merits of the caae were so 
clearly brought out, that, when it was conunitted to 
the jury, there was no question about 4he verdict ; and 
so satisfactory h^ this system proved, that, though an 
appeal^ lies to the Queen in Council, as Mr. Evans, the 
foreman, told me, but one cause has been carried up 
in twenty-two years. Still it stands as an anomaly in 
the history of English jurisprudence ; for, I believe, in 
every other place where the principles of the common 
law govern, the learning of the bench and the ingenui- 
ty of the bar are considered necessary tQ elicit the truth. 

At daylight the next morning I was roused by Mr. 
Walker for a ride to the barracks. Immediately be- 
yond the suburbs we entered upoti an uncultivated 
country, low and flat, but very rich. We passed a 
racecourse, now disused and grown over. This is the 
only road opened, and there are no wheel-carriages in 
Balize. Between it and the inhabited part of Central 
America is a wilderness, unbroken even by an Indian 
path. There is no communication with the interior 
except by the Golfo Dolce or the Balize River ; and, 
from the want of roads, a residence there is more con- 
fining than living on an island. 

In half an hour we reached the barracks, situated on 
the opposite side of a small bay. The soldiers are all' 
black, and are part of an old Jamaica regiment, most 
of them having been enlisted at the English recruiting 
stations in Africa. Tall and athletic, with red coats, 
and, on a liae, bristling with steel, their ebony faces 
gave them a peculiarly warlike appearance. They 
carry themselves proudly, call themselves the " Queen's 
Gentlemen,'* and look down with contempt upon the 
*' niggers.'^ 

We returned to breakfast, and immediately after 


made an excursion in the government pit-pan. This 
is the same fashion of boat in which the Indians navi- 
gated the rivers of America before the Spaniards dis- 
covered it. European ingenuity has«not contrived a 
better, though it has, perhaps, beautified the Indian 
model. Ours was about forty feet long, and six wide 
in the centre, running to a point at both ends, and 
made of the trunk of a mahogany-tree. Ten feet firom 
the stern, and running forward, was a light wooden 
top, supported by fanciful stancheons, with curtains 
for protection against sun and rain ; it had large cush- 
ioned seats, and was fitted up almost as neatly as the 
gondolas of Venice. It was manned by eight negro 
soldiers, who sat two on a seat, with paddles six feet 
long, and two stood up behind with paddles as steers- 
men. A few touches of the paddles gave brisk way to 
the pit-pan, and we passed rapidly the whole length 
of the town. It was an unusual thing for his excellen- 
cy's pit-pan to be upon the water ; citizens stopped to 
gaze at us, and all the idle negroes hurried to the 
bridge to cheer us. This excited our African boat- 
men, who, with a wild chant that reminded us of the 
songs of the Nubian boatmen on the Nile, swept under 
the bridge, and hurried us into the still expanse of a 
Tmajestic river. Before the cheering of the negroes 
died away we were in as perfect a solitude as if re- 
moved thousands of miles from human habitations. 
The Balize River, coming from sources even yet but 
little known to civilized man, was then i» its fulness. 
On each side was a dense, unbroken forest ; the banks 
were overflowed ; the trees seemed to grow out of the 
water, their branches spreading across so as almost to 
shut out the light of the sun, and reflected in the water 
as in a mirror. The sources of the river were occu- 


military life, personally acquainted with the public and 
private characters of the most distinguished military 
men of the age, his conversation was like reading a 
page of history. He is one of a race that is fast pass- 
ing away, and with whom an American seldom meets* 
But to return. The large window of the dining- 
room opened upon the harbour ; the steamboat lay in 
front of the Government House, and the black smoke, 
rising in columns from her pipe, gave notice that it was 
time to embark. Before rising. Colonel McDonald, 
like a loyal subject, proposed the health of the Queen ; 
after which he ordered the glasses to be filled to the 
brim, and, standing up, he gave, " The health of Mr, 
Van Bur en, President of the United States," accom- 
panying it with a warm and generous sentiment, and 
the earnest hope of strong and perpetual friendship be- 
tween England and America. I felt at the moment, 
<< Cursed be the hand that attempts to break it;" and 
albeit unused to taking the President and the people 
upon my shoulders, I answered as well as I could. 
Another toast followed to the health and successfid 
journey of Mr. Catherwood and myself, and we rose 
from table. The government dory lay at the foot of 
the lawn. Colonel McDonald put his arm through 
mine, and, walking away, told me that I was going 
into a distracted country ; that Mr. Savage, the Amer- 
ican consul in Guatimala, had, on a previous occasion, 
protected the property and lives of British subjects ; 
and, if danger threatened me, I must assemble the Eu- 
ropeans, hang out my flag, and send word to him. I 
knew that these were not mere words of courtesy, and, 
ill the state of the country to which I was going, felt 
the value of such a friend at hand. With the warmest 
feelings of gratitude I bade him farewell, and stepped 


was a brags circular plate, on which, in strange juxta- 
position, were the words " Vera Paz," " London," 
The captain was a small* weather-beaten, dried-up 
old Spaniard, with courtesy enough for a Don of old. 
The engineer was an Englishman, and the crew were 
Spaniards, Mestitzoes, and mulattoes, not particularly 
at home in the management of a steamboat. 

Our only fellow-passenger was a Roman Catholic 
priest, a young Irishman, who had been eight months 
at Balize, and was now on his way to Guatimala by in- 
vitation of the provesor, by the exile of the archbishop 
the head of the church. The cabin was very com- 
fortable, but the evening was so mild that we took our 
tea on deck. At ten o'clock the captain came to me 
for orders. I have had my aspirations, but never ex- 
pected to be able to dictate to the captain of a steam- 
boat. Nevertheless, again as coolly as if I had been 
brought up to it, I designated the places I wished to 
visit, and retired. Verily, thought I, if these are the 
fruits of official appointments, it is not strange that men 
are found willing to accept them* 


table to superintend the removal of some InggagCi and 
shortly after I was called out ; and, fortunately for 
Colonel McDonald and the credit of my country, I 
found Mr. C. quietly rolling up, to send back to New- 
York, a large blue cloak belonging to the colonel, sup- 
posing it to be mine. I returned to the table and 
mentioned to our host his narrow escape, adding that 
I had some doubt about a large canvass sack for bed- 
ding which I had found in my room, and, presuming 
it was one that had been promised me by Captain 
Hampton, had put on board the steamboat ; but this 
too, it appeared, belonged to Colonel McDonald, and 
for many years had carried his camp bed. The result 
was, that the colonel insisted upon our taking it, and I 
am afraid it was pretty well worn out before he receiv- 
ed it again. The reader will infer from all this that 
Mr. C. and I, with the help of Augustin, were fit to 
travel in any country. 

But to return. It was a beautiful day. Our course 
lay nearly south, directly along the coast of Honduras. 
In his last voyage Columbus discovered this part of the^ 
Continent of America, but its verdant beauties could 
not win him to the shore. Without landing, he con- 
tinued on to the Isthmus of Darien, in search of that 
passage to India which was the aim of all his hopes, 
but which it was destined he should never see. 

Steamboats have destroyed some of the most pleas- 
ing illusions of my life. I was hurried up the Helles- 
pont, past Sestos and Abydos, and the Plain of Troy, 
under the clatter of a steam-engine ; and it struck at 
the root of all the romance connected with the adven- 
tures of Columbus to follow in his track, accompanied 
by the clamour of the same panting monster. Never- 
theless, it was very pleasant. We sat down under an 


We anchored a short distance from the beaoh| and 
went ashore in the small boat. We landed at the foot 
of a bank about twenty feet high, and, ascending to 
the top, came at once, under a burning sun, into all 
the richness of tropical vegetation. Besides cotton 
and rice, the cahopn, banana, cocoanut, pineapple, or* 
ange, lemon, and plantain, with many other froitt 
which we did not know even by name, were growing 
with such luxuriance that at first their very fragrance 
was oppressive. Under the shade of these trees moet 
of the inhabitants were gathered, and the padre imme* 
diately gave notice, in a wholesale way, that he had 
come to marry and baptize them. After a short con- 
sultation, a house was selected for the performance 
of the ceremonies, and Mr. Catherwood and I, under 
the guidance of a Carib, who had picked up a little 
English in his canoe expeditions to Balize, walked 
through the settlement. 

It consisted of about five hundred inhabitants. Their 
native place was on the seacoast, below Truxillo, vnth- 
in the government of Central America; and having 
taken an active part against Morazan, when his party 
became dominant they fled to this place, being within 
the limits of the British authority. Though living 
apart, as a tribe of Caribs, not mingling their blood 
with that of their conquerors, they were completely 
civilized ; retaining, however, the Indian passion for 
beads and ornaments. The houses or huts were 
built of poles about an inch thick, set upright in the 
ground, tied together vnth bark strings, and thatched 
with coroon leaves. Some had partitions and bed- 
steads made of the same materials ; in every house 
were a grass hammock and a figure of the Virgin or 
of some tutelary saint ; and we were exceedingly 


There was little to be done in the way of marrying, 
there being a scarcity of men for that purpose, as most 
of them were away fishing or at work ; but a long file 
of women presented themselves, each with a child in 
her ermSi for baptism. They were arranged around 
the wall in a circle, and the padre began. Of the 
first he asked a question which I believe is not to be 
found in the book, and which, in some places, it would 
be considered impertinent to put to a mother who of- 
fered her child for initiation into the Church, viz., 
whether she was married. She hesitated, smiled, 
laughed, and answered no. The padre told her that 
this was very wrong and mibecoming a good Christian 
woman, and advised her to take advantage of the pres- 
ent opportimity to marry the child's father. She an- 
swered that she would like to do so, but that he was 
away cutting mahogany ; and here, as his questions and 
her answers had to pass through an interpreter, the 
affair began to be complicated ; indeed, so many of 
the women interposed, all speaking at once, that the 
padre became aware he had touched upon delicate 
ground, and so passed on to the next. 

In fact, even with the regular business our friend had 
enough to do. He understood but little Spanish ; his 
book was in Latin ; and not being able to translate 
as readily as the occasion required, he had employed 
the interval of our absence in copying on a slip of pa- 
per, from a Spanish Protestant prayer-book, the formal 
part of the baptismal service. In the confusion this 
was lost, and the padre was thrown back upon his Lat- 
in, to be translated into Spanish as required. After 
labouring a while, he turned to Augustin, and gave him 
in English the questions to put to the women. Augus- 
tin was a good Catholic, and listened to him with as 


hope that in due seaaon it will maltiply the name and 
make it respectable among the Caribs. 

We returned to the steamboat, and in a few minutes 
were again under way, steering for the Rio Dolce. An 
amphitheatre of lofty mountains stretches for many 
miles along the coast, and bac^ till they are lost to the 
sight. In one small place this lofty range opens for 
the passage of a gentle river. On the right bank of 
the coast was one of the places I intended to visit. It 
was called by the familiar name of Livingston, in hon- 
our of the distinguished citizen of Louisiana whose 
criminal code was at that time introduced into Guati- 
mala ; and it was supposed, so advantageous was its 
position, that it would become the port of entry of 
Central America ; but these expectations were not re- 

It was four o'clock in the afternoon, and, in steering 
toward it, the captain told me that, if we cast anchor, 
it would be necessary to lie there till morning. I was 
loth to lose the only opportunity I shall probably ever 
have of stopping a steamboat ; but I had an eager, al- 
most a burning curiosity to see the Oolfo Dolce, and 
we all agreed that it would be wanton to lose such an 
opportunity of seeing it to advantage. I therefore di- 
rected the captain to move close to the bank and pass on. 

The bank was elevated about thirty feet above the 
water, and rich and luxuriant as at Puenta Gorda* 
The site of the intended city was occupied by another 
tribe of Caribs, who, like the first, driven from their 
home by war, had followed up the coast, and, with 
that eye for the picturesque and beautiful in natural 
scenery which distinguishes the Indians everywhere, 
had fixed themselves upon this spot. Their leaf- 
thatched huts were ranged along the bank, shaded by 


groves of plantain and cocoanut trees; canoes with 
sails set were lying on the water, and men and women 
were sitting under the trees gazing at us. It was a 
soft and sunny scene, speaking peace and freedom 
from the tumults of a busy world. 

But, beautiful as it was, we soon forgot it ; for a 
narrow opening in a rampart of mountains wooed us 
on, and in a few moments we entered the Rio Dolce. 
On each side, rising perpendicularly from three to four 
hundred feet, was a wall of living green. Trees grew 
from the water's edge, with dense, unbroken foliage, 
to the top ; not a spot of barrenness was to be seen ; 
and on both sides, from the tops of the highest trees, 
long tendrils descended to the water, as if to drink and 
carry life to the trunks that bore them. It was, as its 
name imports, a Rio Dolce, a fairy scene of Titan 
land, combining exquisite beauty with colossal gran- 
deur. As we advanced the passage turned, and in a 
few minutes we lost sight of the sea, and were enclosed 
on all sides by a forest wall ; but the river, although 
showing us no passage, still invited us onward. Could 
this be the portal to a land of volcanoes and earth- 
quakes, torn and distracted 'by civil war ? For some 
time we looked in vain for a single barren spot ; at 
length we saw a naked wall of perpendicular rock, but 
out of the crevices, and apparently out of the icock it- 
self, grew shrubs and trees. Sometimes we were so 
enclosed that it seemed as if the boat must drive in 
among the trees. Occasionally, in an angle of the 
turns, the wall sunk, and the sim struck in with scorch- 
ing force, but in a moment we were again in the deep- 
est shade. From the fanciful accounts we had heard, 
we expected to see monkeys gambolling among the 
trees, and parrots flying over our heads ; but all was as 
Vol. I.— E 



quiet as if man had never been there before. The pel- 
ican, the stillest of birds, was the only living thing we 
saw, and the only sound was the unnatural bluster 
of our steam-engine. The wild defile that leads to 
the excavated city of Petra is not more noiseless or 
more extraordinary, but strangely contrasting in its ster- 
il desolation, while here all is luxuriant, romantic, and 

For nine miles the passage continued thus one scene 
of unvarying beauty, when suddenly the narrow river 
expanded into a large lake, encompassed by mountains 
and studded with islands, which the setting sun illumi- 
nated with gorgeous splendour. We remained on 
deck till a late hour, and awoke the next morning in 
the harbour of Yzabal. A single schooner of about 
forty tons showed the low state of her commerce. 
We landed before seven o'clock in the morning, and 
even then it was hot. There were no idlers on the 
bank, and the custom-house officer was the only person 
to receive us. 

The town stands on a gentle elevation on the banks 
of the Golfo Dolce, with mountains piled upon mount- 
ains behind. We walked up the street to the square, 
on one side of which was the house of Messrs. Ampn- 
dia and Purroy, the largest and, except one they were 
then engaged in building, the only frame house in the 
place. The rest were all huts, built of poles and reeds, 
and thatched with leaves of the cahoon-tree. Oppo« 
site their door was a large shed, under which were 
bales of merchandise, and mules, muleteers, and In- 
dians, for transporting goods across the Mico Mountain. 

The arrival of the padre created a great sensation. 
It was announced by a joyful ringing of the church 
bells, and in an hour after he was dressed in his sur* 



plice and saying mass. The church stood at the head 
of the square, and, like the houses, wbs built of poles 
and thatched with leaves. In front, at a distance of 
ten or fifteen feet, was a large wooden cross. The 
floor was of bare earth, but swept clean and strewed 
with pine-leaves ; the sides were trimmed with branch- 
es and festoons of flowers, and the altar was ornament- 
ed with figures of the Virgin and saints, and wreaths 
of flowers. It was a long time since the people had 
had the privilege of hearing mass, and the whole pop- 
ulation, Spaniards, Mestitzoes, and Indians, answered 
the unexpected but welcome call of the matin bell. 
The floor was covered with kneeling women having 
white shawls over their heads, and behind, leaning 
against the rude pillars, were the men ; and their ear- 
nestness and humility, the earthen floor and the thatch- 
ed roof, were more imposing than the pomp of worship 
in the rich cathedrals of Europe or under the dome of 
St. Peter's. 

After breakfast we inquired for a barber, and were 
referred to the collector of the port, who, we were 
told, was the best hair-cutter in the place. His house 
was no bigger than his neighbours', but inside hung a 
military saddle, with holsters and pistols, and a huge 
sword, the accoutrements of the collector when he sal- 
lied out at the head of his deputy to strike terror into 
the heart of a smuggler. Unfortunately, the honest 
Democrat was not at home ; but the deputy offered his 
own services. Mr. C. and I submitted ; but the padre, 
who wanted his crown shaved, according to the rules of 
his order, determined to wait the return of the collector. 

I next called upon the commandant with my pass- 
port. His house was on the opposite side of the square. 
A soldier about fourteen years old, with a bell-crown- 


ed fitraw hat falling over his eyes like an extinguiaher 
upon a candle, was standing at the door as sentinel. 
The troops, consisting of about thirty men and boys, 
were drawn up in front, and a sergeant was smoking a 
cigar and drilling them. The imiform purported to 
be a white straw hat, cotton trousers and shirt outside, 
musket, and cartridge-box. In one particular uniform- 
ity was strictly observed, viz., all were barefooted. 
The first process of calling off rank and file wbb omit- 
ted ; and, as it happened, a long-legged fellow, six feet 
high, stood next to a boy twelve or thirteen years old. 
The custom-house officer was with the sergeant, advi- 
sing him ; and, after a manceuvre and a consultation, 
the sergeant walked up to the line, and with the palm 
of his hand struck a soldier on that part of the body 
which, in my younger days, was considered by the 
schoolmaster the channel of knowledge into a boy's 

The commandant of this hopeful band was Don Juan 
Penol, a gentleman by birth and education, who, with 
others of his family, had been banished by General 
Morazan, and sought refuge in the United States. Hia 
predecessor, who was an officer of Morazan, had been 
just driven out by the Carrera party, and he was but 
twenty days in his place. 

Three great parties at that time distracted Central 
America : that of Morazan, the former president of the 
Republic, in San Salvador, of Ferrera in Honduras, 
and of Carrera in Guatimala. Ferrera was a mulatto, 
and Carrera an Indian ; and, though not fighting for 
any common purpose, they sympathized in opposition 
to Morazan. When Mr. Montgomery visited Guati- 
mala, it was just thrown into a ferment by the rising 
of Carrera, who was then regarded as the head of a 


troop of banditti, a robber and assassin ; his follow- 
ers were called Cachurecos (meaning false coin), and 
Mr. Montgomery told me that against him an official 
passport would be no protection whatever. Now he 
was the head of the party that ruled Guatimala. Se- 
nor Penol gave us a melancholy picture of the state of 
the country. A battle had just been fought near San 
Salvador, between General Morazan and Ferrera, in 
which the former was wounded, but Ferrera was rout- 
ed, and his troops were cut to pieces, and he feared 
Morazan was about to march upon Guatimala. He 
could only give us a passport to Guatimala, which he 
said would not be respected by General Morazan. 

We felt interested in the position of Senor Penol ; 
young, but with a face bearing the marks of care and 
anxiety, a consciousness of the miserable condition of 
the present, and fearful forebodings for the future. 
To our great regret, the intelligence we received indu- 
ced our friend the padre to abandon, for the present, 
his intention of going to Guatimala. He had heard 
all the terrible stories of Morazan's persecution and 
proscription of the priests, and thought it dangerous to 
fall into his hands; and I have reason to believe it 
was the apprehension of this which ultimately drove 
him from the country. 

Toward evening I strolled through the town. The 
population consists of about fifteen hundred Indians, 
negroes, mulattoes, Mestitzoes, and mixed blood of 
every degree, with a few Spaniards. Very soon I was 
accosted by a man who called himself my countryman, 
a mulatto from Baltimore, and his name was Philip. 
He had been eight years in the country, and said that 
he had once thought of returning home as a servant by 
way of New-Orleans, but he had left home in such a 



hurry that he forgot to -bring with him his ^' Christian 
papers ;" from which I inferred that he was what would 
be called in Maryland a runaway slave. He was a 
man of considerable standing, being fireman on board 
the steamboat at $23 a month ; besides which, he did 
odd jobs at carpentering, and was, in fact, the princi- 
pal architect in Yzabal, having then on his hands a 
contract for $3500 for building the new house of Messrs* 
Ampudia and Purroy. In other things, I am sorry to 
say, Philip was not quite so respectable ; and I can only 
hope that it was not his American education that led 
him into some irregularities in which he seemed to 
think there was no harm. He a^ked me to go to his 
house and see his wife, but on the way I learned from 
him that he was not married ; and he said, what I hope 
is a slander upon the good people of Yzabal, that he 
only did as all the rest did. He owned the house in 
which he lived, and for which, with the ground, he had 
paid twelve dollars ; and being a householder and an 
American, I tried to induce him to take advantage of 
the opportunity of the padre's visit, and set a good ex- 
ample by getting married; but he was obstinate, 
and said that he did not like to be trammelled, and that 
he might go elsewhere and see another girl whom he 
liked better. 

While standing at his door, Mr. Catherwood passed 
on his way to visit Mr. Rush, the engineer of the steam- 
boat, who had been ill on board. We found him in 
one of the huts of the town, in a hammock, with all 
his clothes on. He was a man of Herculean frame, 
six feet three or four inches high, and stout in propor- 
tion ; but he lay helpless as a child. A single candle 
stuck upon the dirt floor gave a miserable light, and a 
i;roup of men of different races and colour, from the 



white-fiaced Saxon to the Indian and African, stood 
round him : rude nurses for one used to the comforts 
of an English home. I recollected that Yzabal was 
noted as a sickly place ; Mr. Montgomery, who pub- 
lished an interesting account of his visit to* Guatimala 
in 1838, had told me that it was running the gauntlet 
for life even to pass through it, and I trembled for the 
poor Englishman. I remembered, too, 'what it is 
strange that I had before forgotten, that here Mr. Shan- 
non, ovr charge to Central America, died. Philip was 
with me, and knew where Mr .» Shannon was buried, 
but in the dark he could not point out the spot. I in- 
tended to set out early in the morning ; and afraid that, 
in the hurry of departure, I might neglect altogether 
the sacred duty of visiting, in this distant place, the 
grave of an American, I returned to the house and 
requested Senor Ampudia to accompany me* We 
crossed the square, passed through the suburbs, and in 
a few minutes were outside of the town. It was so 
dark that I could scarcely see my way. Crossing a 
deep guUey on a plank, we reached a rising groubd, 
open on the right, stretching away to the Golfo Dolce, 
and in front bounded by a gloomy forest. ' On the 
top was a rude fence of rough upright poles, enclo- 
sing the grave of some relative of Senor Ampudia; 
and by the side of this was the grave of Mr. Shannon. 
There was no stone or fence, or hardly any elevation, 
to distinguish it from the soil around. It was a gloomy 
burial-place for a countryman, and I felt an involim- 
tary depression of spirit. A fatality had hung over 
our diplomatic appointment to Central America : Mr. 
Williams, Mr. Shannon, Mr. Dewitt, Mr. Leggett, all 
who had ever held it, were dead. I recollected an ex- 
pression in a letter from a near relative of Mr. Dewitt : 


*^ May you be more fortunate than either of your pred- 
ecessors has been." It was melancholy, that one who 
had died abroad in the senrice of his country was thus 
left on a wild mountain, without any stone to mark 
lus grave. ' I returned to the house, directed a fence 
to be built around the grave of Mr. Shannon, and mj 
friend the padre promised to plant at its head a ooooe* 

At daylight the muleteers commenced loading for 
the passage of ^^ the Mountain.'' At seven o'clock the 
whole caravan, consisting of nearly a hundred mules 
and twenty or thirty muleteers, was fairly under way. 
Our immediate party consisted of five mules ; two for 
Mr. Catherwood and myself, one for Augustin, and 
two for luggage ; besides which, we had four Indian 
carriers. If we had been consulted, perhaps at that 
time we should have scrupled to use men as beasts of 
burden ; but Senct Ampudia had made all the arrange* 
ments for us. The Indians were naked, except a small 
piece of cotton cloth around the loins, and crossing in 
front between the legs. The loads were arranged 
so as to have on one side a flat surface. The Indiana 
sat on the ground with their backs against the surface ; 
passed a strap across the forehead, which supported 
the load ; and, adjusting it on their shoulders, with the 
aid of a staff or the hand of a by-stander rose upon 
their feet. It seemed cruel ; but, before much sjrmpa- 
thy could be expended upon them, they were out of 

At eight o'clock Mr. C. and I mounted, each armed 
with a brace of pistols and a large hunting-knife, which 
we carried in a belt around the body ; besides which, 
afraid to trust it in other hands, I had a mountain ba- 
rometer slung over my shoulder. Augustin carried 


pistok and sword; ooj principal mDleteer, who wag 
moanted, carried a machete and a pair of muiderona 
apors, with rowels two inches long, on his naked he^.; 
and two other mnleteers accompaBied ns oa foot, each 
oarrTing a gon. 

A group of fitiendl; by-atanders gave us their adiem 
and good wishes ; and, passing a few straggling housee 
which constituted the suburbs, we entered upon a 
marshy plain sprinkled with shrubs and small trees, 
and in a few minntes were in an unbroken forest. At 
every step the mules sank to their fetlocks in mud, and 
very soon we came to great puddles and mudholes, 
which reminded me of the breaking up of winter and 
the solitary horsepath in one of our primeval forests 
at home. As we advanced, the shade of the trees be- 
came thicker, the holes larger and deeper, and roots, 
rising two or three feet above the ground, crossed the 
path in every direction. I gave the barometer to the 
muleteer, and had as much as I could do to ke^ my- 
self in the saddle. All conversation was at an end, 
and we kept as close as we could to the track of the 
muleteer ; when he descended into a mudhole, and 
crawled out, the entire legs of his mule bine with mnd, 
we followed, and came out as blue as he. 

The caravan of mules, which had started before us, 
was but a short distance ahead, and in a little while 
we heard ringing through the woods the loud about of 
the mulateers and the sharp crack of the whip. We 
overtook them at the bank of a stream which broke 
rapidly over a stony bed. The whole caravan was 
moving up the bed of the stream ; the water was dark- 
ened by the shade of the overhanging trees ; the mule- 
teers, without shirts, and with their large trousers rolled 
up to the thighs and down from the waistband, we«e 
Vol. I.— F 


scattered among the mules : one was chasing a strmjr 
.beast ; a second darting at one whose load was sli]^ 
ping off; a third lifting up one that had fallen ; an- 
other, with his foot braced against a mule's side, 
, straining at the girth ; all shouting, cursing, and laah« 
ing : the whole a mass of inextricable confusion, and 
presenting a scene almost terrific* 

We held up to let them pass; and, crossing the 
stream, rode a short distance on a level road, but over 
fetlock deep in mud ; and, cutting off a bend, fell into 
the stream ourselves in the middle of the caravan. 
The branches of the trees met over our heads, and the 
bed of the stream was so broken and stony that the 
mules constantly stumbled and fell. Leaving this, and 
continuing on a road the same as before, in an hour 
we reached the foot of the mountain. The ascent 
began precipitously, and by an extraordinary passage. 
It was a narrow gulley, worn by the tracks of mules 
and the washing of mountain torrents so deep that the 
sides were higher than our heads, and so narrow that 
we could barely pass through without touching. Our 
whole caravan moved singly •through these muddy de- 
files, the muleteers scattered among them and on the 
bank above, extricating the mules as they stuck fast, 
raising them as they fell, arranging their cargoes, curs- 
ing, shouting, and lashing them on. If one stopped^ 
all behind were blocked up, unable to turn. Any sud- 
den start pressed us against the sides of the gulley, and 
there was no small danger of getting a leg crushed. 
Emerging from this defile, we came again among deep 
mudholes and projecting roots of trees, with the addi- 
tional difficulty of a steep ascent. The trees, too, were 
larger, and their roots higher and extending farther ; 
and, above all, the mahogany-tree threw out its giant 

PBftlLS IT T-BI WAT. 48 

lootB, higfa at the trunk and tapering, not ronnd, like 
the roots of other trees, but Btraigfat, with aharp edges, ' 
traveniDg rooks and the roots of other trees. It was 
the last of the rainy season ; the heavy rains from 
which we had soffered at sea had deluged the mount- 
ain, and it was in the worst state, to be passable ; for 
sometimes it is not passable at all. For the last few 
days there had been no rain ; but we had hardly con- 
gratulated oureelTes upon our good fortune in having a 
clear day, when the forest became darker and the rain 
poured. The woods were of impenetrable thickness ; 
and there was no view except that of the detestable 
path before us. For five long hours we were dragged 
through mudholes, squeezed in gulleys, knocked against 
trees, and tumbled over roots ; every step required caie 
and great physical exertion ; and, withal, I felt that 
our inglorious epitaph might be, " tossed over the head 
of a mule, brained by the trunk of a mahogany-tree, 
and buried io the mud of the Mico Mountain." We 
attempted to walk, but the rocks and roots were so 
slippery, the mndholes so deep, and the ascents and 
descents so steep, that it was impossible to continoe. 

The moles were only half loaded, and even then 
several broke down ; the lash could not move them ; 
and scarcely one passed over without a &11. Of our 
immediate party, mine fell first. Finding that I could 
not save her with the rein, by an exertion that strained 
every nerve I lifted myself from off her back, and 
flung clear of roots and trees, but not of mud ; and I 
had an escape from a worse danger : my da^er fell 
from its sheath and stood upright, with the handle in 
the mud, a foot of naked blade. Mr. Catherwood was 
thrown with such violence, that for a few moments, 
feeling the belplesmess of our condition, I was horror- 


Struck. Long before this he had broken silence to ot- 
ter an exclamation which seemed to come from the 
bottom of his heart, that, if he had known of tbm 
^^ mountain," I might have come to Central America 
alone ; if I had had any tendency to be a little uplifted 
by the honours I received at Balize, I was brought 
down by this high way to my capital. Shortly after 
Augustin's mule fell backward ; he kicked his feet oot 
of the stirrups, and attempted to sUde off behind ; bnt 
the mule rolled, and caught him with his left leg nnder, 
and, but for his kicking, I should have thought that 
every bone in his body was broken. The mule kick* 
ed worse than he ; but they rose together, and with* 
out any damage except that the mud, which before lay 
upon them in spots, was now formed into a legnlav 

We were toiling on toward the top of the monntainy 
when, at a sudden turn, we met a solitary traveller. 
He was a tall, dark-complexioned man, with a broad* 
brimmed Panama hat, rolled up at the sides ; a striped 
woollen Guatimala jacket, with fringe at the bottom ; 
plaid pantaloons, leather spatterdashes, spurs, and 
sword ; he was mounted on a noble mule with a 
high-peaked saddle, and the butts of a pair of horse* 
man's pistols peeped out of the holsters. His face 
was covered with sweat and mud; his breast and 
legs were spattered, and his right side was a complete 
incrustation; altogether, his appearance was fearful. 
It seemed strange to meet any one on such a road;' 
and, to our surprise, he accosted us in English. He 
had set out with muleteers and Indians, but had lost 
them in some of the windings of the woods, and was 
seeking his way alone. He had crossed the mount- 
ain twice before, but had never known it so bad ; he 

X CAriTlLIST. 45 

bad been thrown twice ; once his mule rolled over 
him, and nearly crushed him ; and now she was so 
frightened that he could baidly urge her along. He 
dismounted, and the trembling beast and his own ex- 
hausted state confirmed all that he had said. He ask- 
ed us for brandy, wine, or water, anything to revive 
him; but, unfortunately, our stores were ahead, and 
for him to go back one step was out of the question. 
Imagine our surprise, when, with his feet buried in the 
mud, be told us that be bad been two years in Guati- 
mala "negotiating" for a bank charter. Fresh as I 
was &om the land of banks, I almost thought he intend- 
ed a fling at me ; but he did not look like one in a hu- 
mour for jesting ; and, for the benefit of those who will 
regard it as an evidence of incipient improvement, I 
am able to state that he had the charter secured when 
he rolled over in the mud, and was then on his way to 
England to sell the stock. He told us, too, what seem- 
ed in better keeping with the scene, that Carrera bad 
marched toward St. Salvador, and a battle was daily 
expected between him and Morazan. 

But neither of us had time to lose ; and parting, 
though with some reluctance, almost as abruptly as we 
had met, we continued our ascent. At one o'clock, to 
our inexpressible satisfaction, we reached the top of the 
mountain. Here we found a clearing of about two 
hundred feet in diameter, made for the benefit of be- 
nighted muleteers ; in different places were heaps of 
ashes and burned stumps of wood, the remains of their 
fires. It was the only place on the mountain which 
the sun could reach, and here the ground was dry; but 
the view was bounded by the clearing. 

We dismounted, and would have lunched, but had 
no water to drink ; and, after a few minutes* rest, re- 


8umed our journey. The descent was as bad as the 
ascent ; and, instead of stopping to let the mules 
breathe, as they had done in ascending, the muleteen 
seemed anxious to determine in how short a time they 
could tumble them down the mountain. In one of the 
muddiest defiles we were shut up by the falling of a 
mule before, and the crowding upon us of all behind ; 
and, at the first convenient place, we stopped until the 
whole caravan had passed. The carefulness of the 
mules was extraordinary. For an hour I watched the 
movements of the one before me. At times he put one 
of his fore feet on a root or stone, and tried it as a man 
would ; sometimes he drew his fore legs out of a bed 
of mud from the shoulders, and sometimes it was one 
continued alternation of sinking and pulling out. 

This is the great high road to the city of Guatimala, 
which has always been a place of distinction in Span* " 
ish America. Almost all the travel and merchandise 
from Europe passes over it ; and our guide said that 
the reason it was so bad was because it was traversed 
by so many mules. In some countries this would be a 
reason for making it better ; but it was pleasant to find 
that the people to whom I was accredited were relieved 
from one of the sources of contention at home, and did 
not trouble themselves with the complicated questions 
attendant upon internal improvements.* 

In two hours we reached a wild river or mountain 
torrent, foaming and breaking over its rocky bed, and 
shaded by large trees. It was called El Arroyo del 
Muerto, or Stream of the Dead. The muleteers were 
already distributed on the rocks or under the shade of 

* Since that time the Conttitoent Assembly of Gaatimtli has imposed a tax 
of one dollar upon every bale of merchandise that passes over the mountaiui for 
the improyement of the road. 


the trees, eating their frugal meat of corn-cakes ; the 
mules were in the river, or scattered along the bank; 
and we selected a large tree, which spread its braucbes 
over ua like a toof, and so near the stream that we 
could dip our drinking-cupS into the water. 

' All the anxiety which I had been able to spare, du- 
ring the day &om myself I had bestowed upon the ba- 
rometer on the beck of the guide. He carried, besides, 
a small white pitcher, with a red rim, on the belt of his 
machete, of which he was very proud and very care- 
ful ; and several times, after a stumble and a narrow 
escape, he turned round and held up the pitcher with 
a smile, which gave me hopes of the barometer ; and, 
in fact, be had carried it through without its being 
broken ; but, unfortunately, the quicksilver was not well 
secured, and the whole had escaped. It vras impossi- 
ble to repair it in Quatimala, and the loss of this ba- 
rometer was a source of regret during our whole jour- 
ney ; for we ascended many mountains, the heights of 
which have never been ascertained. 

But we had another misadventure, which, at the 
moment, touched us more nearly. We sat on the 
ground, Turkish fashion,^with a vacant space between 
us. Augustin placed before us a well-filled napkin; 
and, as we dipped water from the clear stream by our 
side, a spirit of other days came over us, and we spoke 
in contempt of railroads, cities, and hotels ; but oh, 
publicans, yoo were avenged. We unrolled the nap- 
kin, and the scene that presented itself was too shock- 
ing, even for the strongest nerves. We had provided 
bread for three days, eggs boiled hard, and two roasted 
fowls for as long as they might last. Augustin had 
forgotten salt, but he bad placed in the napkin a large 
paper of gunpowder as an adventure of his own. The 


paper was broken, and the bread, fowls, and eggs 
thoroughly seasoned with thi^ new condiment. All the 
beauty of the scene, all our equanimity, everything 
except our tremendous appetites, left us in a moment. 
Country taverns rose up before us ; and we, who had 
been so amiable, abused Augustin, and wished him the 
whole murderous seasoning in his own body. 'Wt 
could not piek out enough to satisfy hunger. It was 
perhaps the most innocent way of tasting gunpowder, 
but even so it was a bitter pill. We picked and made 
excavations for immediate use, but the rest of our 
stores was lost. 

This over, we mounted, and, fording the stream, 
continued our descent. Passing off by a spur of the 
mountain, we came out upon an open ridge, command* 
ing a view of an extensive savannah. Very soon we 
reached a fine table of land, where a large party of 
muleteers on their way to Yzabal were encamped for 
the night. Bales of indigo, which formed their car- 
goes, were piled up like a wall ; their mules were pas- 
turing quietly near them, and fires were burning to 
cook their suppers. It was a great satisfaction i<f be 
once more in an open countrj^, and to see the mount- 
ain, with its dense forest, lighted up by the setting sun, 
grand and gloomy, and ourselves fairly out of it. With 
ten hours of the hardest riding I ever went through, we 
had made only twelve miles. 

Descending from this table, we entered a plain thick- 
ly wooded, and in a few minutes reached a grove of 
yrild palm-trees of singular beauty. From the top of 
a tall naked stem grew branches twenty or thirty feet 
long, spreading from the trunk, and falling outward 
with a graceful bend, like enormous plumes of feath- 
ers ; the trees stood so close that the bending branches 


net, and fmned arches, in soma pbcM as regular aa 
if constructed by art ; we rode among them, there 
ma a solenm stillnen, an air of desolation, that re* 
minded na of the cc^oraus of on Bgyptian temple. 

Toward dark we reached the laodio of Mico. It 
WW a small house, built of poles and plastered with 
mad. Near it, and connected by a shed thatched with 
branches, was a larger housej built of the -same mate* 
rial, eipreasly for the use of travellers. This was al- 
ready occupied by two parties from Guatimala, one of 
which consisted of the Caaonigo Castillo, his clerical 
companion or secretary, and two young Pavons. The 
other was a French merchant on his way to Paris. 
Mr. C. and I were piotureBque4ooldng objects, not 
spaUered, but plastered with mud firom head to foot ; 
but we were soon known, and received from the whole 
company a cordial welcome to Central America. 

Their appearance was such as gave me a highly 
ftiTOureble opinion of the description of persons I 
should meet at Ouatimala. The canonigo was one of 
the first men in the country in position and character, 
and was then on bis way to Havana on a delicate po> 
litical mission, being sent by the Constituent Assem- 
bly to invite back the archbishop, who had been ban- 
ished by General Morazan ten years before. He im- 
dertook to do the honours, and set before us choco* 
late and what he called the " national dish," fre^les, x 
or black beans fried, which, fortunately for our subse- 
quent travels, we "eottoned" to at once. We were 
Very tired, but agreeable company was better than 
sleep. The canonigo had been educated at Rome, 
and passed the early part of his life in Europe ; the 
Frenchman was~ fiom Paris ; the young Pavons were 
educated in New- York ; and we sat till a late hour, 

Vol. I.— G 5 


0m dothes stiff with nrad, talking of Franoei Italjf 
■nd home. At length we hung up our hammockflu 
We had been so much occupied that we had paid aa 
attention to our luggage ; and, when we wanted to pro- 
cure a change of raiment, could not find our men, and 
were' obliged to turn in as we were ; but| with tha aat* 
isbctory feeling that we had passed " the moantain^'* 
wa sooa fell asleep. 

'A eivoiri**. 


I&-BRW to KM ■ Ftwri.— g« f p ori SbonukMf^HctHM Rhw. 
— DMBtltal acw*.— Cniiifaf ths Rtm.—Tba Tiiiinj iif™iTiii TihalHii 
CoffBiBM.— Bow Ui mka ToKlUu.— Covtlf Tliiiliii ftmliii nijiiiwliii 
BMt— Aack ofn EuthqtMts.— A Mnll thraoak tha Tmra.— A InoblM^ 
Hnlatan.— A LawNit.— trnpoMnt NetodMMH.— A Uodara BdwDri.— Hax 
ta fuD ■ HiubuML— A Kiii|diifD of Flon.'-ZKipa.— Uakinf &«• wj Ji ■ Boat 

Bbforb daylight I was out of doora. Twenty or 
thirty men, muleteeia and tervaiitfl, were asleep on tha 
ground, each lying od his back, with his black cAoMor 
wound round turn, coTering his head and feet. As the 
day broke they arose. Very soon the FrencbmaD got 
up, took chocolate, and, after an hour's preparatioa, 
started. The canonigo set off next. He had ciosaed 
the mountain twenty years before, on bis first arrival 
in the country, and t till retained a full recollection of 
its horrors. He set off oo the back of an Indian, in a 
3iUa, or chair with a high back and top to protect him 
from the sun. Three other Indians followed as relay 
carriers, and a nobie mule for his relief if he should be- 
come tired of the chair. The Indian was bent almost 
double, but the canonigo was in high spirits, smoking 
his cigar, and waving his hand till he was out of sight. 
The Pavona started last, and we were left alone. 

Still none of our men oame. At about eight o'clock 
two made their appetu-ance ; they had slept at a rancho 
near by, and the others had gone on with the luggage. 
We were excessively provoked ; but, enduring as we 
might the discomfort of our clothes stiff with mud, sad* 
died and set off. 

We saw no more of our caravaa of mules, and our 
muleteer oi the barometer bad diss^peared withovt 


notice, and left us in the hands of two nnderstrmp- 

Our road lay over a mountainous country, but gen- 
erally clear of wood ; and in about two hours we reach* 
ed a collection of ranchos, called El Posos. One of 
our men rode up to a hut and dismounted, as if he 
were at home. The woman of the house chided him 
for not having come the night before, which he gruffly 
ascribed to us ; and it was evident that we stood a 
chance of losing him too. But we had a subject of 
more immediate interest in the want of a breakfast. 
Our tea and coffee, all that we had left after the de- 
struction of our stores by gunpowder, were gone for^ 
ward, and for some time we could get nothing. And 
here, in the beginning of our journey, we found a scar- 
city of provant greater than we had ever met with be- 
fore in any inhabited country. The people lived ex- 
clusively upon tortillas — flat calces made of crushed 
Indian corn, and baked on a clay griddle — and black 
beans. Augustin bought some of these last, but they 
required several hours' soaking before they could be 
eaten. At length he succeeded in buying a fowl, 
through which he ran a stick, and smoked it over a 
fire, without dressing of any kind, and which, with tor- 
tillas, made a good meal for a penitentiary system of 
diet. As we had expected, our principal muleteer was 
unable to tear himself away ; but, like a dutiful hus- 
band, he sent, by the only one that was now left, a 
loving message to his wife at Oualan. 

At the moment of starting, oiu* remaining attendant 
said he could not go until he had made a pair of shoes, 
and we were obliged to wait ; but it did not take long. 
Standing on an untanned cowhide, he marked the size 
of his feet with a piece of coal, cut them out with his 


like a decoy duck ; but the rest had no disposition to 
follow. The muleteer drove them in up to their necks, 
but they ran back to the shore. Several times, by pelt- 
ing them with sticks and stones, he drove them in as 
before. At length he stripped himself; and, wading 
to the depth of his breast, with a stick ten or twelve 
feet long, succeeded in getting them all afloat, and on a 
line within the reach of his stick. Any one that tiim« 
ed toward the shore received a blow on his nose, and 
at length they all set their faces for the opposite bank ; 
their little heads were all that we could see, aimed di* 
reotly across, but carried down by the current. One 
was carried below the rest ; and, when she saw her 
companions landing, she raised a frightened cry, and 
almost drowned herself in struggling to reach them. 

During all this time we sat in the canoe, with the 
hot sun beating upon our beads. For the last two 
hours we had suffered excessively from heat ; our 
clothes were saturated with perspiration and stiff with 
mud, and we looked forward almost with rapture to a 
bath in the Motagua and a change of linen. We land* 
ed, and walked up to the house in which we were to 
pass the night. It was plastered and whitewashed, 
and adorned with stresiks of red in the shape of fee* 
toons ; and in front was a fence made of long reeds, 
six inches in diameter, split into two ; altogether the 
appearance was favourable. To our great vexation, 
our luggage had gone on to a rancho three leagues be- 
yond. Our muleteers refused to go any farther. We 
were unpleasantly situated, but we did not care to leave 
so soon the Motagua river. Our host told us that his 
house and all that he had were at our disposal ; but he 
could give us nothing to eat ; and, telling Augustin to 
ransack the village, we returned to the river. Every* 


where the current was too rapid for a quiet bath. Call- 
ing our canoe man, we returned to the opposite side, 
and in a few minutes were enjoying an ablution, the 
luxury of which can only be appreciated by those who, 
like ua, had crossed the Mico Mountain without throw* 
ing away their clothes. 

There was an enjoyment in this bath greater even 
than that of cooling our heated bodies. It wa» Uw 
moment of a golden suoaeu We stood up to our neoka 
in water dear as crystal, and calm as that of soma 
diminutive lake, at the margin of a channel along 
which the stream was mshiag with arrowy speed. On 
each side were mountains several thousand feet high, 
with their tops illuminated by the setting son ; on a 
point above us was a palm-leafed hut, and befwe it a 
naked Indian sat looking at us ; while flocks of parrots^ 
with brilliant plumage, almost in thousands, were flying 
over our beads, catching up our words, and filling the 
air with their noisy mockings. It, was one of those 
beautiful scenes that so rarely occur in human life, al- 
laost realizing dreams. Old as we were, we might 
have become poetic, but that Augustia came down to 
the opposite bank, and, with a cry that rose above the 
ohatteriog of parrots and the loud murmor of the river, 
called us to supper. 

We had one moment of agony when we returned to 
our clothes. They lay extended upon the bank, em- 
blems of men who had seen better days. The setting 
sun, which shed over all a soft and mellow lustre, laid 
bare the seams of mud and dirt, and made them bide< 
ous. We had but one alternative, and that was to go 
without them. But, as this seemed to be trenching 
upon the proprieties of life, we picked them up and 
put them on reluctant. I am not sure, however, but 

rsiMiTiri ooaTuKsa. 87 

lleep. I endeavoared to do the Bame. I called to 
mind tbe ptantb, that " travelling makes strange bed- 
fellows." I had .slept pellmell with Greeks, Turks, 
•ad Arabs. I was b^inning a joamey in a new conn- 
try ; it was my dn^ to eonform to the cnstoms of Um 
people ; to be prepared for the worst, and submit with 
resignation to whatever might befall me. 

Ab giwBtfl, it was pleasant to feel that the funily mad* 
BO strangeTB of ua. Tbe wife of tbe don retired with tbe 
same ceremonies. Several times during the night we 
were waked by the clicking of liint and steel, and saw 
one of out neigfaboorB lighting a cigar. At daylight 
tbe wife of the don was enjoying, her morning slumber. 
While I was dressing she bade me good-morning, re- 
moved the cotton covering from her shoulders, and 
arose dressed for the day. 

We started early, and for some distance our road 
lay along the banks of the Motagua, almost as beauti- 
ful by morning as by evening light. In an hour we 
commenced ascending the spur of a moimtain ; and, 
reaching tbe top, followed the ridge. It was high and 
narrow, commanding on both sides an almost bound- 
less view, and seemed selected for picturesque effect. 
The scenery was grand, but the land wild and unculti- 
vated, without fences, enclosures, or habitations. A 
few cattle were vrandering wild over the great expanse, 
bat without imparting that domestic aspect which in 
other countries attends the presence of cattle. We met 
a few Indians, with their machetes, going to their morn- 
ing's work, and a man riding a mule, with a woman 
before him, his arm encircling her waist. 

I was riding ahead of my compaaiona, and on the 
sununit of the ridge, a little aside from the road, saw 
a little white girl, perfectly naked, playing before a 

Vol. I.— H 


lancbo. As moot of the people we met were 
or Ladinosi I was attracted by her appearanoe, 
rode up to the rancho. The proprietor^ in the 
costume of our host of Eneuentros^ was swinging faa % 
hammock nnder the portico, and smoking a cigar. AX 
a Httle distance was a shed thatched with staUoi mnA 
leaves of Indian corn, and called the eudnerOf or kitdfe- 
en. As usual, while the don was lolling in his ham* 
mock, the women were at work. 

I rode on to the cucineraj and diamoonted. Tlie 
party consisted of the mother and a pretty daughter- 
in-law of about nineteen, and two daughters of aboot 
fifteen and seventeen. The reader is perhaps ourioua 
about costumes ; but having given him an insight into 
those of this country, he will not require any far* 
ther descriptions. Tn honour of my visit, the mother 
snatched up the little girl who had attracted me to the 
rancho, carried her inside, and slipped over her head 
a garment which, I believe, is generally worn by little 
girls ; but in a few minutes my young friend disen- 
cumbered herself of her finery, and was toddling abotil 
with it under her arm. 

The whole family was engaged in making tortillas. 
This is the bread of Central and of all Spanish Ameri- 
ca, and the only species to be found except in the prin* 
cipal towns. At one end of the cueinera was an eleva^. 
tion, on which stood a comal or griddle, resting on 
three stones, with a fire blazing under it. The daugh* 
ter-in-law had before her an earthen vessel containing 
Indian corn soaked in lime-water to remove the husk ; 
and, placing a handful on an oblong stone curving in- 
ward, mashed it with a stone roller into a thick paste. 
The girls took it as it was mashed, and patting it with 
their hands into fiat cakes, laid them on the griddle to 


bake. Thia is repeated for every meal, and a great 
part of the btuiness of the women consista in making 

' When Mr. Cathetwood arrived the tOrtillaa war* 
moking, and we stopped to breakfast. They gave m 
the only luxury they hod, coffee made of parched, ooni) 
irhich, ia compliment to their kindnen, we drank. 
Like me, Mr. C. was stmok with the personal beauty. 
of this family group. With the advanta^s of dress 
and education, they might be ornaments in cultivated 
society ; but it is decreed otherwise, and these yomg 
girls will go through life making tortillas. 

For BO hoar longer we continued on the ridge of the 
mountain, then entored a more woody country, and io 
half an hour came to a lai^ gate, which stood directly 
across the road like a tollbar. It was the first tok«i 
we had seen of individual or territorial boundary, and 
hi other coontries would have formed a fitting entrance 
to B prmeely estate ; for the massive frame, with all its 
poets and supporters, was of solid mahogany. The 
heat was now intense. We entered a thick wood and 
forded a wild stream, across which pigi were swim> 
ming. Soon after we came to a cochineal plantation, 
and passed through a long lane thickly bordered and 
ovendiaded with shrubs and trees, dose to sufibcation. 
We emerged into an open plain, on which the sun beat 
with almost intolerable power ; sod, crossing the plain, 
at about three o'clock entered Onalan. There was not 
a breath of air ; the houses and the earth seemed to 
throw out heat. I was confused, my head swam, and 
I ftit in danger of a stroke of the son. At that mo- 
ment there was a slight shock of earthquake. I was 
imoonaeions of it, but was almost overpowered by the 


exceflsive heat and closeness of atmosphere which 
companied it. 

We rode up to the house of Donna Bartola, to whom 
we had a letter of recommendation, and I cannot de» 
scribe the satisfaction with which I threw myself into 
a hammock. Shade and quiet restored me. For the 
first time since we left Yzabal we changed our clothes i 
for the first time, too, we dined. 

Toward evening we strolled through the town. It 
stands on a table of breccia rook, at the junction of ti^o 
noble rivers, and is encircled by a belt of mountains* 
One principal street, the hduses of one story, with piaa- 
sas in front, terminates in a plaza or public square, at 
the head of which stands a large church with a Gothic 
door; and before it, at a distance of ten or twelve 
yards, was a cross about twenty feet high. The popu« 
lation is about ten thousand, chiefly Mestitzoes. LeaT« 
ing the plaza, we walked down to the M otagua. On 
the bank a boat was in process of construction, about 
fifty feet long and ten wide, entirely of mahogany. 
Near it a party of men and women were fording the 
stream, carrying their clothes above their heads ; and 
around a point three women were bathing. There are 
no ancient associations connected with this place ; but 
the wildness of the scene, the clouds, the tints of the 
sky, and the setting sun reflected upon the mountains^ 
were beautiful. At dark we returned to the house. 
Except for the companionship of some thousands of 
ants, which blackened the candles and covered every- 
thing perishable, we had a room to ourselves. 

Early in the morning we were served with chocolate 
and a small roll of sweet bread. While at breakfast 
our muleteer came, reiterating a demand for settle* 
ment, and claiming three dollars more than was due* 


We refnsed to pay him, and be went away Eurioui. 
In half an hour ao alguazil came to me with % nmi- 
mons to the alcalde. Mr. Catherwood, who was, at the 
moment, cleaning his pistols, cheered me by threaten- 
ing, if they put me in prison, to bombard the town. 
The cabildo, or house of the municipality, was at one 
side of the plaza. We entered a large room, one end 
of which was partitioned off by a wooden railing. In- 
side sat the alcalde and his clerk, and outside was the 
muleteer, with a group of half-naked fellows as his 
backers. He had reduced his claim to one dftUar, 
doubtless supposing that I would pay that rather than 
have any trouble. 'It was not very respectable to be 
sued for a dollar ; but I looked in his face on entering, 
and resolved not to pay a cent. I did not, however, 
claim my privilege under the law of nations, but de- 
fended the action on the merits, and the alcalde deci- 
ded in my favour ; after which I showed him my pass* 
port, and he asked me inside the bar and offered me a 

This over, I had more important business. The first 
was to hire mules, which could not be procured till the 
day bot one after. Next I negotiated for washing 
clothes, which was a complicated business, for it was 
necessary to specify which articles were to be washed, 
which ironed, and which starched, and to pay separ- 
ately for Trashing, ironing, soap, and starch ; and, last- 
ly, I negotiated with a tailor for a pair of pantaloons, 
purchasing separately stuff, lining, buttons, and thread, 
the tailor finding needles and thimble himself. 

Toward evening we again walked to the river, re- 
turned, and taught Donna Bartola how to make tea. 
By this time the whole town was in commotion pre- 
paratory to the great ceremony of praying to the Santa 


Lucia. Early in the morning, the firing of musketSy 
petards, and rockets had announced the arrival of this 
unexpected but welcome visiter, one of the holiest saints 
of the calendar, and, next to San Antonio, the most 
celebrated for the power of working miracles. Mora- 
zan's rise into power was signalized by a persecution of 
the clergy : his friends say that it was the purification 
of a corrupt body ; his enemies, that it was a war against 
morality and religion. The country was at that time 
overrun with priests, firiars, and monks of different or- 
dersC. Everywhere the largest buildings, the best culti- 
vated lands, and a great portion of the wealth of the 
country were in their hands. Many, no doubt, were 
good men ; but some used their sacred robes as a cloak 
for rascality and vice, and most were drones, reaping 
where they did not sow, and iiving luxuriously by the 
sweat of other men's brows. At all events, and what- 
ever was the cause, the early part of Morazan's admin- 
istration was signalized by hostility to them as a class ; 
and, from the Archbishop of Guatimala down to the 
poorest friar, they were in danger ; some fled, others 
were banished, and many were torn by rude soldiers 
from their convents and churches, hurried to the sea- 
ports, and shipped for Cuba and old Spain, imder sen- 
tence of death if they returned. The country was left 
comparatively destitute ; many of the churches fell to 
ruins ; others stood, but their doors were seldom open- 
ed ; and the practice and memory of their religious rites 
were fading away. Carrera and his Indians, with the 
mystic rites of Catholicism ingrafted upon the supersti- 
tions of their fathers, had acquired a strong hold upon 
the feelings of the people by endeavouring to bring back 
the exiled clergy and to restore the influence of the 
church. The tour of the Santa Lucia was regarded as 


an indication of a change of feeling and government ; 
as a prelude to the restoration of the influence of the 
church and the revival of ceremoniea dear to the heart 
of the Indian. As such, it was hailed by all the villages 
through which she had passed ; and that night she would 
receive the prayers of the Christians of Oualan. 

The Santa Lucia enjoyed a peculiar popularity front 
her miraculous power over the aifections of the young ; 
for any young man who prayed to her for a wife, or any 
young woman who prayed for a husband, was sure to 
receive the object of such prayer ; and if the person 
praying indicated to the saint the individual wished for, 
the prayer would be granted, provided such individual 
was not already married. It was not surprising that a 
saii^ with such extraordinary powers, touching so di- 
rectly the tenderest sensibiRties, created a sensation in 
a place where the feelings, or, rather, the passions, are 
particularly turned to love. 

Donna Bartola invited ns to accompany her, and, 
setting out, we called upon a &iend of hers ; during the 
whole visit, a servant girl sat with her lap full of to- 
bacco, making straw cigars for immediate use. It was 
the first time we had smoked with ladies, and, at first, 
it was rather awkward to ask one for a light ; but we 
were so thoroughly broken in that night that we never 
had any delicacy afterward. The conversation turned 
upon the saint and her miraculous powers ; and when 
we avowed ourselves somewhat skeptical, the servant 
girl, with that familiarity, though not want of respect, 
which exists throughout Central America, said that it 
was wicked to doubt ; that she had prayed to the saint 
herself, and two months afterward she was married, and 
to the very man she prayed for, though at the time he 
had no idea of bar, and, in &ct, wanted another girl. 


With this encouragement, locking the honsei and 
companied by children and servants, we set out to paj 
our homage to the saint. The sound of a violin and tlie 
firing of rockets indicated the direction of her temparaiy 
domicil. She had taken up her residence in the hut cxT 
a poor Indian in the suburbs ; and, for some time before 
reaching it, we encount^ed crowds of both sexes, and 
all ages and colours, and in every degree of dress and 
undress, smoking and talking, and sitting or lying on 
the ground in every variety of attitude. Room was 
made for our party, and we entered the hut. 

It *wa8 about twenty feet square, thatched on the top 
and sides with leaves of Indian corn, and filled with a 
dense mass of kneeling men and women. On one side 
was an altar, about four feet high, covered with a clean 
white cotton cloth. On the top of the altar was a firamei 
with three elevations, like a flower-stand, and on the 
top of that a case, containing a large wax doll, dressed 
in blue silk, and ornamented with gold leaf, spangles, 
and artificial flowers. This was the Santa Lucia. Over 
her head was a canopy of red cotton cloth, on which 
was emblazoned a cross in gold. On the right was a 
sedan chair, trimmed with red cotton and gold leaf, 
behig the travelling equipage of the saint ; and near it 
were Indians in half-sacerdotal dress, on whose shoul- 
ders she travelled ; festoons of oranges hung firom the 
roof, and the rough posts were inwrapped with leaves 
of the sugar-cane. At the foot of the altar was a mat, 
on which girls and boys were playing ; and a little fel- 
low about six years old, habited in the picturesque cos- 
tume of a straw hat, and that only, was coolly surveying 
the crowd. 

The ceremony of praying had abready beguil; and the 
music of a drum, a violin, and a flageolet, under the di- 


rectioD of the Indian master of ceremonies, diowned 
the Doise of voices. Donna Baitola, who was a widow, 
and the other ladies of our party, fell on theii knees ; and, 
recommending myself to their prayers, I looked on with- 
out doing anything for myself, but I studied attentive- 
ly the faces of those around me. There were eome of 
both sexes who could not strictly be called young ; but 
they did not, on that account, pray less earnestly. In 
some places people would repel the imputation of being 
desirous to procure husband or wife; not so in Gualan : 
they prayed pubhcly for what they considered a bless- 
ing. Some of the men were so much in earnest that 
perspiration stood in large drops upon their faces ; and 
none thought that praying for a husband need tinge the 
chee\ of a modest maiden. I watched the countenance 
of a young Indian girl, beaming with enthusiasm and 
hope ; and, while her eyes rested upon the image of the 
saint and her lips moved in prayer, I could not but im- 
agine that her heart was full of some truant, and per- 
haps unworthy lover. 

Outside the hut was an entirely different scene. Near 
by were rows of kneeling men and women, but beyond 
were wild groups of half>naked men and boys, setting 
off rockets and fireworks. As I moved through, a 
flash rose from under my feet, and a petard exploded 
so near that the powder singed me ; and, turning round, 
I saw hurrying away my rascally muleteer. Beyond 
were parties of young men and women dancing by the 
Ught of blazing pine sticks. In a hut at some little dis- 
tance were two haggard old women, with large caldrons 
over blazing fires, stirring up and serving out the con- 
tents with long wooden ladles, and looking like witches 
dealing out poison instead of love-potions. 

At ten o'clock the prayers to the saint died away, and 

Vol. I.— I 


the crowd separated into groups and couples, and many 
fell into what in English would be called flirtations. A 
mat was spread for our party against the side of the hut^ 
and we all lighted cigars and sat down upon it. Cups 
made of small gourds, and filled firom the caldrons with 
a preparation of boiled Indian corn sweetened with va- 
rious dolceSj were passed from mouth to mouth, each 
one sipping and passing it on to the next ; and this con- 
tinued, without any interruption, for more than an hour. 
We remained on the ground till after midnight, and then 
were among the first to leave. On the whole, we con- 
cluded that praying to the Santa Lucia must lead to 
matrimony; and I could not but remark that, in the 
way of getting husbands and wives, most seemed dis- 
posed to do something for themselves, and not leave 
all to the grace of the saint. 

The next day it was excessively hot, and we remain- 
ed within doors. In the evening we visited the padre, 
who had just returned from a neighbouring village. He 
was a short, fat man, and had on a white nightcap, a 
blue striped jacket, and white pantaloons, an& we found 
him swinging in a hammock and smoking a cigar. He 
had a large household of women and children ; but as 
to the relation in which they stood to him, people differ- 
ed. He gave us more information in regard to the 
country than we had yet been able to obtain, and par- 
ticularly in regard to Copan, a ruined city which we 
wished to visit. He was familiar with the history of the 
Indians, and understood thoroughly the character of the 
present race ; and, in answer to our question if they 
were all Christians, said that they were devout and re- 
ligious, and had a great respect for the priests and 
saints. With this he hitched up his bursting pantaloons, 
and lighted another cigar. We might have smiled at 


the idea of his confounding his comfortable figure with 
the saints ; hut he had so much good sense and good 
feeling that we were not disposed to be captious. 

The next morning oui muleteer came, but, through 
some misunderstanding, he had not mules enough to 
carry all our luggage. Bather than wait, we started 
without him, and left part of the baggage for him to 
bring on to Zacapa the next day. 

Leaving Guaidn, we had on our right the Motagua 
River, which had now become to us a friend, and be- 
yond it the great range of the mountains of Vera Paz, 
six or eight thousand feet high. In an hour we cojn- 
menced ascending. Soon we were in a wilderness of 
flowers ; shrubs and bushes were clothed in purple and 
red ; and on the sides of the mountain, and in the ra- 
vines leading down to the river, in the wildest posi- 
tions, were large trees so covered with red that they 
seemed a single flower. In three hours we descended 
from OUT mountain height, and came once more to the 
river side, where it was rolling swiftly, and in some 
places breaking into rapids. We followed for about 
an hour, and rose again several thousand feet. At two 
o'clock we reached the village of San Pablo, situated 
on a lofty table of land, looking down upon the river, 
and having its view bounded by the mountains of Vera 
Paz. The church stood at the entrance of the village. 
We turned our mules loose to graze, and took our meal 
in the porch. It was a beautiful position, and two wa- 
terfalls, shining like streaks of silver on the distant 
mountain side, reminded us of cascades in Switzerland. 

We procured a guide from the alcalde to conduct us 
to Zacapa ; and, resuming our journey, for two hours 
more had the same great range u[H)n our right. The 
sun was obscured, but occasionally it brdte through 


and lighted up the sides of the mountains, while the 
tops were covered with clouds. At four o'clock w© 
had a distant view of the great plain of Zacapa, bound- 
ed on the opposite side by a triangular belt of mount- 
ains, at the foot of which stood the town. We de- 
scended and crossed the plain, which was green and 
well cultivated ; and, fording a stream, ascended a rug- 
ged bank and entered the town. 

It was by far the finest we had seen. The streets 
were regular, and the houses plastered and whitewash- 
ed, with large balconied windows and piazzas. The 
church was two hundred and fifty feet long, with walls 
ten feet thick, and a facade rich with Moorish devices. 
It was built in the form of a Latin cross. In one end 
of the cross was a tailor's shop, and the other was roof- 
less. At one corner was a belfry, consisting of four 
rough trunks of trees supporting a peaked roof covered 
with tiles. Two bells were suspended from a rude 
beam; and, as we passed, a half-naked Indian was 
standing on a platform underneath, ringing for vespers. 

We rode up to the house of Don Mariano Durante, 
one of the largest and best in the place, being about a 
hundred feet front, aitd having a corridor extending the 
whole length, paved with square stones. The door was 
opened by a respectable-looking St. Domingo negro, 
who told us, in French, that Senor Durante was not at 
home, but that the house was at our service ; and, going 
round to a porte coc/ure alongside, admitted us into a 
large courtyard ornamented with trees and flowers, at 
one side of which was a cabelleria or stable. We left 
our mules in the hands of the servants, and entered a 
sala or reception-room covering nearly the whole front, 
with large windows reaching down to the floor and iron 
balconies, and furnished with tables, a European bu- 



Purchasing a Bridle. — A School and its Regulations. — Conversation with an In- 
dian.— Spanish Translation of the '* Spy." — Chiquimula.— A Church in Ruins. 
— A Veteran of the French Empire.~St. Stephanos. — A Land of Mountains.-— 
An Affair with a Muleteer.— A deserted Village. — A rude Assault— Arrest.— • 
Imprisonment. — Release. 

The next day we were obliged to wait for our mule- 
teer. Our guide of the night before had stolen one of 
our bridles ; and here we found the beginning of an 
annoyance which attended us throughout Central Amer- 
ica, in the difficulty of buying anything ready made. 
There was a blacksmith who had a bit partly made, but 
had not charcoal enough to finish it. Fortunately, du- 
ring the day an Indian arrived with a backload, and the 
bridle was completed. The headstall we bought of a 
saddler, and the reins, which were of platted leather like 
the lash of a whip, we were lucky enough to obtain 
ready made. The arrival of the charcoal enabled the 
blacksmith to fit us out with one pair of spurs. 

At Zacapa, for the* first time, we saw a schoolhouse. 
It was a respectable-looking building, with columns in 
front, and against the wall hung a large card, headed, 

" 1st Decurion (a student who has the care of ten other students). 2d Decarion. 

" Interior regulation for the good government of the school of first letters of this 
town, which ought to be observed strictly by all the boys composing it," &c.,* 

with a long list of complicated articles, declaring the 
rewards and punishments. The school, for the govern^ 
ment of which these regulations were intended, consist- 
ed of five boys, two besides the decurions and monitor. 
It was nearly noon, and the master, who was the clerk 
of the alcalde, had not yet made his appearance. The 


plidt faith in what partisans told me, and endearaand 
to change the subject. Our host asked me whetliflr 
we had any wars in my country, and said he knew thttt 
we had had one revolution, for he had read La Histo* 
ria de la Revolution de los Estados Unidos del Ncntei 
in four volumes, in which General Washington appear- 
ed under the name of Harper, and Jack Lawton and Dr. 
Bitgreaves were two of the principal characters; from 
which I learned, what will perhaps be new to some of my 
readers, that in the Spanish translation the tale of the 
'' Spy" is called a History of the American Revolution. 

Our muleteer did not make his appearance till late 
the next day. In the mean time, I had had an oppor- 
tunity of acquiring much information about the roads 
and the state of the country ; and, being satisfied that, 
so far as regarded the purpose of my mission, it was 
not necessary to proceed immediately to Ouatimala, 
and, in fact, that it was better to wait a little while and 
see the result of the convulsions that then distracted the 
country, we determined to visit Copan. It was com- 
pletely out of the line of travel, and, though distant only 
a few days' journey^ in a region of country but little 
known, even at Zacapa ; but our muleteer said that he 
knew the road, and made a contract to conduct us thith- 
er in three days, arranging the different stages before* 
hand, and firom thence direct to Guatimala. 

At seven o'clock the next morning we started. Al- 
though both my companion and myself were old traT- 
ellers, our luggage was in bad packages for travelling 
with mules over a mountainous country — ^hard to put on 
and easy to fall off; and, in keeping with this, we had 
but one pair of spurs between us. In an hour we ford- 
ed the Motagua, still a broad stream, deep, and with a 
rapid current ; and coming out with our feet and leg^ 


hundred and fifty feet deep, and the walls were ten feet 
thick. The fa^de was adorned with ornaments and 
figures of the saints, larger than life. The roof had 
fallen, and inside were huge masses of stone and mor- 
tar, and a thick growth of trees. It was built hj the 
Spcmiards on the site of the old Indian village; but^ 
having been twice shattered by earthquakes, the inhab- 
itants had deserted it, and built the town where it now 
stands. The ruined village was now occupied as a 
campo santo, or burial-place ; inside the church were 
the graves of the principal inhabitants, and in the nichee 
of the wall were the bones of priests and monks, with, 
their names written under them. Outside were the 
graves of the common people, untended and uncared 
for, with the barrow of laced sticks which had carried 
the body to the grave laid upon the top, and slightly 
covered with earth. The bodies had decayed, the dirt 
fallen in, and the graves were yawning. Around this 
scene of desolation and death nature was rioting in 
beauty ; the ground was covered with flowers, and par* 
rots on every bush and tree, and flying in flocks over 
our heads, wanton in gayety of colours, with senseless 
chattering disturbed the stillness of the grave. 

We returned to the town, and found about twelve 
hundred soldiers drawn up in the plaza for evening 
parade. Their aspect was ferocious and banditti-like, 
and it was refreshing to see convicts peeping through 
the gratings of the prison, and walking in chains on 
the plaza, as it gave an idea that sometimes crimes 
were punished. With all their ferocity of appearance, 
the officers, mounted on prancing mules or very small 
horses, almost hidden in saddle-cloth and armour, wore 
an air bordering upon the mock heroic. While we 
were looking at them, General Cascara, the command* 


wheDi according to the rules of coortesyy I o^[ered fior 
her choice a cigar and a puro, she took the latter. Bnt 
it was fio long since I had seen a woman who was at all 
attractive, and her ftioe was so interesting, her mannere 
were so good, her voice so sweet, the Spanish words 
rolled so beautifully from her lips, and her frock was 
tied so close behind, that, in spite of ten-year-old boy 
and puro, I clung to my first impressions. 

The next morning we rose early. Our interesting 
hostess and her fatherly husband were up betimes to as- 
sist us. It would have been an offence to the laws of 
hospitality to offer them money ; but Mr. C. gave the 
boy a penknife, and I put on the finger of the senora a 
gold ring, with the motto, " Souvenir d'amiti6." It 
was in French, and her husband could not understand 
it, nor, unfortunately, could she. 

At seven o'clock we started. Passing the ruined 
church and the old village, we rode over a rich valley^ 
so well cultivated with Indian corn that it gave a key 
to the boy's question, Whether we had come to Chiqui* 
mula to buy maize ? At a league's distance we came to 
the village of St. Stephanos, where, amid a miserable col- 
lection of thatched huts, stood a gigantic church, like 
that at Chiquimula, roofless, and falling to ruins. We 
were now in a region which had been scourged by civil 
war. A year before the village had been laid waste by 
the troops of Morazan. 

Passing the village, we came upon the bank of a 
stream, in some places diverted into water-courses for 
irrigating the land ; and on the other side of the stream 
was a range of high mountains. Continuing along it, 
we met an Indian, who advised our muleteer that the 
oamino real for Copan was on the opposite side of the 
river, and across the range of mountains. We returned 


Church of St John in the wildemeas of Judea, but the 
situation was eren more beautiful. At two o'clock wr^ 
crossed the stream and entered the village. Opposite 
the church the muleteer told us that the day's work was 
over, but, with all our toils, we had made only fifteen 
miles, and were unwilling to stop so soon. The exi^ 
oeeding beauty of the place might have tempted ub^ 
but the only good plastered hut was occupied by a bcoid 
of ruffianly soldiers, and we rode on. The mnleteev 
followed with curses, and vented his spite in lashing the 
mules. Ag%dn we crossed the stream, and, continuing 
up the valley along the dry bed, which bore marks of 
the flood that vrashed it in the rainy season, in an hour 
we crossed it half a dozen times. Heavy clouds rested 
on the mountains, and again we had raiiu At four 
o'clock we saw on a high table on the left the village of 
Hocotan, with another gigantic church. According to 
the route agreed upon with the muleteer, this should 
have been the end of our first da3r'8 journey. We had 
been advised that the cura could give us much infomoa* 
tion about the ruins of Copan, and told him to cross 
over and stop there ; but he refused, and, hurrying on 
the mules, added that we had refused to stop when he 
wished, and now he would not stop {09 us. I could not 
spur my mule beyond her own gait, and, unable to over- 
take him, jumped off and ran after him on foot. Acci* 
dentally I put my hand on my pistols, to steady thcun 
in my belt, and he fell back and drew his machete. 
We came to a parley. He said that if we went there 
we could not reach Copan the next day ; whereupon, 
willing to make a retreat, and wishing to leave him no 
excuse for failing, we continued. 

At six o'clock we rose upon a beautiful table of land, 
on which stood another gigantic church. It was the 



chocolate, taking care not to give him any. There were 
pins in the walk for swinging hammocks, and in the 
evening we prepared for sleep. Mr. C. was in his ham* 
mock, and I was half undressed, when the door wa* 
suddenly burst open, and - twenty-five or thirty men 
rushed in, the alcalde, tglguazilg^ soldiers, Indians, and 
Mestitzoes, ragged and ferocious-looking fellows, and 
armed with staves of office, swords, clubs, muskets, and 
machetes, and carrying blazing pine sticks. At the 
head of them was a young officer of about twenty-^ght 
or thirty, with a glazed hat and sword, and a knowing 
and wicked expression, whom we afterward understood 
to be a captain of one of Carrera's companies. The 
alcalde was evidently intoxicated, and said that he 
wished to see my passport again. I delivered it to hinoi, 
and he handed it over to the young officer, who exam* 
ined it, and said that it was not valid. In the mean 
time, Mr. Catherwood and I dressed ourselves. I wa» 
not very familiar with the Spanish language, and, 
through Augustin, explained my official character, and 
directed him particularly to the endorsements of Com* 
mandant Pefiol and General Cascara. He paid no re* 
gard to my explanaticxis ; the alcalde said that he had 
seen a passport once before, and that it was printed, 
and on a small piece of paper not bigger than his hand ; 
whereas mine was the one given by government on a 
quarto sheet. Besides this, they said that the seal of 
General Cascara was only that of the department of 
Chiquimula, and it ought to be that of the state of Gua- 
timala. I did all in my power to show the insufficiency 
of these objections ; but, after a warm altercation, the 
young man said that we should not proceed on our jour- 
ney, but must remain at Comotan until information 
could be sent to Chiquimula, and orders received firomr 


drels sat on a bench with mniitets against their ahoci- 
ders, and the muzzles pointed within three feet of rtxj 
breast. If we had been longer in the country we 
should have been more alarmed ; but as yet we did not 
know the sanguinary character of the people, and the 
whole proceeding was so outrageous and insulting that it 
roused our indignation more than our fears. Augostiii, 
who, from having had a cut across the head with H 
machete, which did not kill him, was always bellioose^ 
begged me in French to give the order to fire, and 
said that one round would scatter them all. We had 
eleven charges, all sure ; we were excited, and, if the 
young man himself had laid his hands upon me, I think 
I should have knocked him down at least ; but, moat 
fortunately, before he had time to give his order to fall 
upon us, a man, who entered after the rest, of a better 
class, wearing a glazed hat and round-about jacket, 
stepped forward and asked to see the passport. I was 
determined not to trust it out of my hands, and held it 
up before a blazing pine stick while he read it, and, at 
Mr. Catherwood's request, aloud. 

I have since doubted whether even the officer had 
read it, or, if so, whether he had communicated its con- 
tents, for it produced an effect upon the alcalde and his 
alguazils ; and, after some moments of anxious suspense 
to us, they fcnbore to execute their threat, but said that 
we must remain in custody. I demanded a courier, to 
carry a letter immediately to General Cascara, which 
they refused ; but, on my offering to pay the expense 
of the courier, the alcalde promised to send it. Know- 
ing General Cascara to be an Italian, and afraid to 
trust my Spanish, I wrote a note, which Mr. C. trans- 
lated into Italian, informing him of our arrest and im- 
prisonment ; that we had exhibited to the alcalde and 


relieved from immediate apprehemioiui, but our pros* 
pectfl were not pleasant ; and, fastening the door as well 
aa we could inside, we again betook ourselves to our 

During the night the door was again burst open, and 
the whole ruffianly band entered, as before, with swords^ 
muskets, machetes, and blazing pine sticks. In an in- 
stant we were on our feet, and my hurried impressios 
was, that they had come to take the passport ; but, to 
our surprise, the alcalde handed me back the letter -with 
the big seal, said there was no use in sending it, and 
that we were at liberty to proceed on our journey w^hen 
we chose. 

We were too well pleased to ask any questions, and 
to this day do not know why we were arrested. My 
belief is, that if we had quailed at all, and had not kept 
up a high, threatening tone to the last, we should not have 
been set free ; and I have no doubt that the big seal did 
much in our behalf. Our indignation, however, was not 
the less strong that we considered ourselves safe in 
pouring it out. We insisted that the matter should not 
end here, and that the letter should go to Oeneral Cas- 
cara. The alcalde objected ; but we told him that, if not 
sent, it would be the worse for him ; and, after some de* 
lay, he thrust it into the hands of an Indian, and beat 
him out of doors with his staff; and in a few minutes 
the guard was withdrawn, and they all left us. 

It was now nearly daylight, and we did not know 
what to do ; to continue was to expose ourselves to a 
repetition of the same treatment, and perhaps, as we 
advanced farther into the interior, with a worse result. 
Undetermined, for the third time we turned into our 
hammocks. At broad daylight we were again roused 
by the alcalde and his alguazils, but this time they came 



Ad Toditti F\nienL— Copn Rivvr.— Womtn^ KindDesi.— Haatndft •f 8mi Ab- 
lonia— Strange CuiUNns.— A M ouoUin of Aloes.— Tbe Sute of Hondont. 
— Villige of Copan.— An ungracious Boat.— Wall of Copan.— Hiatory of Co- 
pan.— First View of the Ruins.— Vain Speculations.— A pplicationa for Modi- 
dne.— Seardi for an Abode.— A Sick Woman.— Plafuea of a M okMor.— >Aji 
unpleasant Situation.— A Thunder Stoim.—Thought8 of buying Copsa. 

TmiNiNG away from the church, we passed the brow 
of a hill, behind which was a collection of huts almost 
concealed from sight, and occupied by our friends of the 
night before. Very soon we commenced ascending a 
mountain. At a short distance we met a corpse borne 
on a rude bier of sticks, upon the shoulders of Indians, 
naked except a piece of cotton cloth over the loins, and 
shaking awfully under the movements of its carriers. 
Soon after we met another, borne in the same way, but 
wrapped in matting, and accompanied by three or four 
men and a young woman. Both were on their vray to 
the graveyard of the village church. Ascending, we 
reached the top of a mountain, and saw behind us a 
beautiful valley extending toward Hocotan, but all 
waste, and suggesting a feeling of regret that so beauti- 
ful a country should be in such miserable hands. 

At half past twelve we descended to the banks of the 
Copan River. It was broad and rapid, and in the mid- 
dle was a large sandbar. We had difficulty in fording 
it ; and some of the baggage, particularly the beds and 
bedding, got wet. From the opposite side we again 
commenced ascending another ridge, and from the top 
saw the river winding through the valley. As we cross- 
ed, by a sudden turn it flowed along the base, and we 
looked directly down upon it. Descending this mount- 

WOKAll'l KlHkKBII. 8T 

•in, we came to a beautifid stream, where a gray-haired 
lodian woman and a pretty tittle girl, pictures of yonth 
and old age, were washing clothes. We dismounted, 
and sat down on the bank to wait f<» the muleteer. I 
forgot to mention that he had with him a boy about thir- 
teen or fourteen years old, a fine little fellow, upon whom 
he imposed the worst part of the burden, that of chasing 
tte mules, and who really seemed, like Baron Mnnohau* 
sen's d(^, in danger of running his legs off. 

Our breach with the muleteer had not been healed, 
and at first we ascribed to him some agency in onr troii> 
bles at Comotan. At all events, if it had net been for 
him, we should not have stopped there. All day he bad 
been particularly furious with the mules, and they had 
been particularly perrerae, and now they had gone 
astray ; and it was an hour beCove we heard his spitefnt 
voice, loading them with cursefl. We mounted agai^ 
and at four o'clock saw at a distanoe a hacienda, OH* 
the opposite side of a valley. It stood aTone, and prom> 
ised a quiet resting-place fov the ni^t. We turned off 
from the eammo real into a wild path, stony, and over^ 
grown with bushes, and so steep that we were obliged 
to dismount, let the mnlea go ahead, and hold on our- 
selves by the boshes to descend. At the foot of the hill 
we mounted and crossed a stream, where a little boy, 
playing in the water, saluted me by crossing his arms 
upon his breast, and then passed on to Mr. Catherwood. 
This was a favourable omen ; and, as we climbed up a 
steep hill, I felt that' here, in this lonely spot, away from 
the gathering-places of men, we must meet kindness. 
On the top of the hill a w<Mnan, with a naked child in 
her arms and a smile on her face, stood watching onr 
toilsome asoent ; and when we asked her if we could 
make posada there, riie answered, in the kindeat pbraM 


of the country, with a hce that spoke even a -wanner 
welcome than her worda, "como no9?" "why not t" 
and when she' saw that our servant had pineapples in 
his alforgas, she asked why he brought them, and if he 
did not know that she had plenty. 

The situation of the hacienda of San Antonio vras 
wildly beautiful. It had a clearing for a oowyard| 
a plantation of corn, tobacco, and plantains, and the 
opening gave a view of the high mountains by which it 
was surrounded. The house was built of poles plas- 
tered with mud, and against the wall in front of the 
door Y(BS a figure of the Saviour on the cross, on a 
white cotton cloth hung round with votive offerings* 
The naked child which the mother carried in her arms 
was called Maria de los Angelos. While supper vras 
in preparation the master of the house arrived, a swar- 
thy, grim-looking fellow, with a broad-brimmed som- 
teero and huge whiskers, and mounted on a powerfii] 
young horse, which he was just breaking to the monnt- 
ain-roads ; when he knew that we were strangers ask* 
ing hospitality, his harsh features relaxed, and he re- 
peated, the welcome the woman had given us. 

Unfortunately, the boy of the muleteer was taken 
very ill ; his master paid no attention to him, and, while 
the poor little fellow was groaning under a violent fe- 
ver, ate on with perfect indifference. We made him a 
comfortable bed on the piazza, and Mr. Catherwood 
gave him a dose of medicine. Our evening passed 
very differently from the last. Our host and hostess 
were a kind-hearted and simple couple. It was the 
^st time they had ever met with men from another 
country, and they asked many questions, and examined 
our little travelling apparatus, particularly our plated 
oups, knives, forks, and spoons ; we showed them our 


All parted at the hacienda of San Antonio with kind 
feelings except our aurly muleteer, who was indignant^ 
as he said, that we made presents to everybody except to 
him. The poor boy was most grateful, and, un£artu- 
nately for him, we had given him a knife, which made 
the muleteer jealous. 

Almost immediately from the hacienda we entered 
a thick wood, dense as that of the Mico Mountain, and 
almost as muddy. The ascent was toilsome, but the 
top was open, and so covered with that beautiful plant 
that we called it the Mountain of Aloes. Some were 
just peeping out of the ground, others were twenty or 
thirty feet high, and some gigantic stalks were dead ; 
flowers which would have kindled rapture in the breast 
of beauty had bloomed and died on this desolate mount* 
ain, unseen except by a passing Indian. 

In descending we lost the path, and wandered for 
some time before we recovered it. Almost immediate- 
ly we commenced ascending another mountain, and 
from its top looked completely over a third, and, at a 
great distance, saw a large hacienda. Our road lay di« 
rectly along the edge of a precipice, from which irre 
looked down upon the tops of gigantic pines at a great 
distance beneath us. Very soon the path became so 
broken, and ran so near the edge of a precipice, that I 
called to Mr. Catherwood to dismount. The precipice 
was on the left side, and I had advanced so far that, 
on the back of a perverse mule, I did not venture to 
make any irregular movement, and rode for some mo- 
ments in great anxiety. Somewhere on this road, but 
unmarked by any visible sign, we crossed the bounda- 
ry-line of the state of Guatimala and entered Hon- 

At two o'clock we reached the village of Copan, 


were tied together, its head drawn back by a rope tied 
firom its horns to its tail, and with one thrust of the msi- 
chete the artery of life was severed. The pack of hun* 
gry dogs stood ready, and, with a horrible clicking, 
lapped up the blood with their tongues. All the wom- 
en were looking on, and a young girl took a puppy 
dog and rubbed its nose in the crimson stream, to give 
it early a taste for blood. The ox was skinned, tha 
meat separated from the bones, and, to the entire 
destruction of steaks, sirloins, and roasting-pieces, in an 
hour the whole animal was hanging in long strings on a 
line before the door. 

During this operation Don Gregorio arriyed. He 
was about fifty, had large black whiskers, and a beard 
of several days' growth ; and, from the behaviour of all 
around, it was easy to see that he was a domestic ty- 
rant. The glance which he threw at us before die- 
mounting seemed to say, ^^ Who are you ?" but, without 
a word, he entered the house. We waited until he had 
finished his dinner, when, supposing that to be the fia* 
vourable moment, I entered the house. In my inter- 
course with the world I have more than once found my 
overtures to an acquaintance received coldly, but I nev- 
er experienced anything quite so cool as the don's re- 
ception of me. I told him that we had come into that 
neighbourhood to visit the ruins of Copan, and his man- 
ner said, What's that to me ? but he answered that they 
were on the other side of the river. I asked him wheth- 
er we could procure a guide, and again he said that the 
only man who knew anything about them lived on the 
other side of the river. As yet we did not make suffi-. 
cient allowance for the distracted state of the country, 
nor the circumstance that a man might incur danger to 
himself by giving shelter to suspected persons ; but. 


the don, looked so insulting, that I told Mr. Catherwood 
we would tumble ouir luggage into the road, and curse 
him for an inhospitable churl ; but Mr. Catherwood 
warned me against it, urging that, if we had an open 
quarrel with him, after all our trouble we would be pre- 
Tented seeing the ruins. The don probably suspected 
something of what passed ; and, fearing that he might 
push things too far, and bring a stain upon his name, 
pointed to a chair, and asked me to take a seat. With 
a great effort, I resolved to smother my indignation un- 
til I could pour it out with safety. Augnstin was very- 
indignant at the treatment we received ; on the road he 
had sometimes swelled his own importance by telling 
of the flags hoisted and cannon fired when we left Ba« 
lize; and here he hoisted more flags and fired more 
guns than usual, beginning with forty guns, and after- 
ward going on to a cannonade ; but it would not do. 
The don did not like us, and probably was willing to 
hoist flags, and fire cannons too, as at Baliase, when we 
should go away. 

Toward evening the skin of an ox was spread upon 
the piazza, corn in ears thrown upon it, and all the men, 
with the don at their head, sat down to shell it. The 
cobs were carried to the kitchen to burn, the corn taken 
up in baskets, and three pet hogs, which had been grunt- 
ing outside in expectation of the feast, were let in to 
pick up the scattered grains. During the evening no 
notice was taken of us, except that the wife of the don 
sent a message by Augustin that supper was preparing ; 
and our wounded pride was relieved, and our discontent 
somewhat removed, by an additional message that they 
had an oven and flour, and would bake us some bread 
if we wished to buy it. 

After supper all prepared for sleep. The don's house 


had two sides, an inside and an out. The don and his 
family occupied the former, and we the latter ; but we 
had not even this to ourselves. All along the wall 
were frames made of sticks about an inch thick, tied 
together with bark strings, over which the workmen 
spread an untanned oxhide for a bed. There were 
three hammocks besides ours, and I had so little room 
for mine that my body described an inverted parabola,^ 
with my heels as high as my head. It was vexatious 
and ridiculous ; or, in the words of the English tourist 
in Fra Diavolo, it was *^ shocking I positively shocking !" 

In the maming Bon G rag o rio was in the same hu- 
mour. We took no notice of him, but made our toilet 
under the shed with as much respect as possible to the 
presence o^ die female members of the family, who were 
constantly passing and repassing. We had made up 
our minds to hold on and see the ruins ; and, fortunate- 
ly, early in the morning, one of the crusty don's sons, a 
civil young man, brought over fiom the village Joee, the 
guide of whom we stood in need. 

By reason of many vexatious delays, growing out of 
difficulties between Jose and the muleteer, we did not 
get away until nine o'clock. Very soon we left the 
path or road, and entered a large field, partially culti- 
vated with com, belonging to Don Gregorio. Riding 
some distance through this, we reached a hut, thatched 
with corn-leaves, on the edge of the woods, at which 
some workmen were preparing their toeakfast. Here 
we dismounted, and, tying our mules to trees near by, 
entered the woods, Jose clearing a path before us with 
a machete ; soon we came to the bank ofa river, and saw 
directly opposite a stone wall, perhaps a Ihmdred feet 
high, with furze growing out of the top, running north 
and south along the river, in some places fallen, bat in 

others entire. Il had more tlie characler of a structure 
than any we had ever seen, ascribed to the aborigines 
of America, and formed part of the wall of Copan, an 
ancient city, on whose history books throw but little 

I am entering abruptly upon new ground. Volumes 
without number have been written to account for the 
first peopling of America. By some the inhabitants of 
this continent have been regarded as a separate race, 
not descended from the same common father with the 
rest of mankind ; others have ascribed their origin 
to some remnant of the antediluvian inhabitants of the 
earth, who survived the deluge which swept away the 
greatest part of the human species in the days of Noah, 
and hence have considered them the most ancient race 
of people on the earth. Under the broad range allow- 
ed by a descent from the sons of Noah, the Jews, the 
Caaaanites, the Fhcenicians, the Carthaginians, the 
Greeks, the Scythians in ancient limes ; the Chinese, 
the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Welsh, and the Span- 
iards in modern, have had ascribed to them the honour 


has poured upon the world, and the field of AmeiieflD 
antiquities has been opened. • 

The ignorance, carelessness, and indifference of tfao 
inhabitants of Spanish America on this subject are mil* 
ter of wonder. In our own country, the opening of lbi% 
ests and the discovery of tumuli or mounds and fortifi- 
cations, extending in ranges from the lakes through tht 
valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi, mununies in a caTe 
in Kentucky, the inscription on the rock at DightOBi 
supposed to be in PhoBnician characters, and the mini 
of walk and a great city in Arkansas and 

Territory, had suggested wild and wandering ideas in 
regard to the first peopling of this country, and tka 
strong belief that powerful and populous nations had 
occupied it and had passed away, whose histories are \ 
entirely unknown. The same evidences continoe in 
Texas, and in Mexico they assume a still more definilt 

The first new light thrown upon this subject as 
gards Mexico was by the great Humboldt, who 
that country at a time when, by the jealous policy of 
the government, it was almost as much closed agaiSBl 
strangers as China is now. No man could have better 
deserved such fortune. At that time the monuments 
of the country were not a leading object of research ; 
but Humboldt collected from various sources informsp 
tion and drawings, particularly of Mitla, or the Vale of 
the Dead; Xoxichalco, a mountain hewed down and 
terraced, and called the Hill of Flowers ; and the great 
pyramid or Temple of Cholula he visited himself, of 
all which his own eloquent account is within reach of 
the reader. Unfortunately, of the great cities beyond 
the Vale of Mexico, buried in forests, ruined, desolatCi 
and without a name, Humboldt never heard, or, at least, 


insurgents. Hernando de Chaves determined to pun- 
ish him, and marched against Copan, then one of the 
largest, most opulent, and most populous places of the 
kingdom. The camp of the cacique, with his auxil- 
iaries, consisted of thirty thousand men, well disci- 
plined, and veterans in war, armed with wooden swoida 
having stone edges, arrows, and slings. On one side, 
says the 'historian, it was defended by the ranges of 
mountains of Chiquimula and Gracios a Dios, and on 
the opposite side by a deep fosse, and an intrenchment 
formed of strong beams of timber, having the interstices 
filled with earth, with embrasures, and loopholes for 
the discharge of arrows. Chaves, accompanied by 
some horsemen, well armed, rode to the fosse, and 
made sign that he wished to hold conference. The 
cacique answered with an arrow. A shower of arrows, 
stones, and darts followed, which compelled the Span? 
iards to retreat. The next day Chaves made an attack 
upon the intrenchment. The infantry wore loose coats 
stuffed with cotton ; swords and shields ; the horsemen 
wore breastplates and helmets, and their horses were 
covered. The Copanes had each a shield covered with 
the skin of the danta on his arm, and his head guarded 
by bunches of feathers. The attack lasted the whole 
day. The Indians, with their arrows, javelins, and 
pikes, the heads of which were hardened by fire, main* 
tained their ground. The Spaniards were obliged to 
retreat. Chaves, who had fought in the thickest of the 
battle, was alarmed at the difficulties of the enterprise 
and the danger to the credit of the Spanish arms, but 
received information that in one place the depth of the 
ditch which defended Copan was but trifling, and the 
next day he proceeded to the spot to make an attack 
there. The Copanes had watched his movementSi and 


State of preservation. We ascended by large stone 
steps, in some places perfect, and in others thrown doira 
by trees which had grown'up between the crevicesi and 
reached a terrace, the form of which it was impossible 
to make out, from the density of the forest in which it 
was enyeloped. Our guide cleared a way with his ma* 
chete, and we passed, as it lay half buried in the earth| 
a large fragment of stone elaborately sculptured, and 
came to the angle of a structure with steps on the sides, 
in form and appearance, so far as the trees would ena* 
ble us to make it out, like the sides of a pyramid. Di« 
Terging from the base, and working our way through 
the thick woods, we came upon a square stone col* 
umn, about fourteen feet high and three feet on each 
aide, sculptured in very bold relief, and on all four of 
the sides, from the base to the top. The front was the 
figure of a man curiously and richly dressed, and the 
face, evidently a portrait, solenm, stern, and well fitted 
to excite terror. The back was of a different design, 
unlike anything we had ever seen before, and the sides 
were covered with hieroglyphics. This our guide called 
an <' Idol ;" and before it, at a distance of three feet, was 
a large block of stone, also sculptured with figures and 
emblematical devices, which he called an altar. The 
sight of this unexpected moniiment put at rest at once 
and forever, in our minds, all uncertainty in regard to 
the character of American antiquities, and gave us the 
assurance that the objects we were in search of were in- 
teresting, not only as the remains of an unknown peo- 
ple, but as works of art, proving, like newly-discovered 
historical records, that the people who once occupied 
the Continent of America were not savages. With an 
interest perhaps stronger than we had ever felt in wan- 
dering among the ruins of Egypt, we followed our 

vIa seen feo«^ ^^'^ ^^Tand even »* "^» ,^j^ oOtt"^ 
had»ee» trees, »»". r-iba«, o* ^^ . «&. 

__-g coveted ^^*" io«a»*^® ^ • «oio£e»ettce, e» 

tbe P°«'^^'' \bove weiity feel m ^^^^ed »» 

„oand,bmdmg^ y,es. "^^ i„toP«»*^ 

the mystery by ^ v,ui\t this c^y petta, ^ 

-trtictuxcBi ea^^o f , made in®^^' «„ 

^ ««! " Q«i«^" ^'^^^ -.tions connected J^ ^. 
'''^lu Z were no association ^^.etioos ^^ich 
'^'^oleof those stirring tec 

1 ^A • none "■• , 

11 Tbe vfoiw » «^ 


but architecture, sculpture, and painting, all the arts 
which embellish life, had flourished in this overgrown 
forest ; orators, warriors, and statesmen, beauty, ambi- 
tion, and glory, had lived and passed away, and none 
knew that such things had been, or could tell of their 
past existence. Books, the records of knowledge, are 
silent on this theme. The city was desolate. No rem« 
nant of this race hangs round the ruins, with traditions 
handed down from father to son, and from generation 
to generation. It lay before us like a shattered bark in 
the midst of the ocean, her masts gone, her name ef* 
faced^ her crew perished, and none to tell whence she 
came, to whom die belonged, how long on her voyage,, 
or what caused her destruction ; her lost people to be 
traced only by some fancied resemblanoe in the con^ 
struction of the vessel, and, perhaps, never to be known 
at all. The place where we sat, was it a citadel from 
which an unknown people had sounded the trumpet of' 
war ? or a temple for the worship of the God of peace T 
or did the inhabitants worship the idols made with 
their own hands, and offer sacrifices on the stones be- 
fore them ? All was mystery, dark, impenetrable mys- 
tery, and every circumstance increased it. In Egypt 
the colossal skeletons of gigantic temples stand in. the 
imwatered sands in all the nakedness of desolation ; 
here an immense forest shrouded the ruins, hiding 
them from sight, heightening the impression and moral 
effect, and giving an intensity and almost wildn^ss to 
the interest. 

Late in the afternoon we worked our way back to the 
mules, bathed in the clear river at the foot of the wall, 
and returned to the hacienda. Our grateful muleteer- 
boy had told of his dreadful illness, and the extraordl^ 
nary cure effected by Mr. Catherwood ; and we found 

Vol. I.. 


at the hacienda a ghastly-Ipoking maiii worn down bf 
fever and ague, who begged us for *' remedies.*' Am 
old lady on a visit to the femily, who had intdided to 
go home that day, was waiting to be cored of a makd^ 
from which she had suffered twenty years. Our medi- 
cine-chest was brought out, and this converted the 
of the don into a patient also. Mr. C.'s reputation 
with the medicines he distributed ; and in the course of 
the evening he had under his hands four or five wodmb 
and as many men. We wanted very much to praotiee 
on the don, but he was cautious. The percussion cqpe 
of our pistols attracted the attention of the men ; and 
we showed them the compass and other thingSi ^vHbieh 
made our friend at San Antonio suppose we were **ytirj 
rich," and *^ had many ideas." By degrees we became 
on social terms with all the house except the mastWi 
who found a congenial spirit in the muleteer. He had 
taken his ground, and was too dignified and obetinale 
to unbend. Our new friends made more room for our 
hammocks, and we had a better swing for the night. 

In the morning we continued to astonish the people 
by our strange ways, particularly by brushing our teethi 
an operation which, probably, they saw then for the first 
time. While engaged in this, the door of the boose 
opened, and Don Gregorio appeared, turning his head* 
away to avoid giving us a buenos dios. We resolved 
not to sleep another night under his shed, but to take 
our hammocks to the ruins, and, if there was no build* 
ing to shelter us, to hang them up under a tree. My 
contract with the muleteer was to stop three days at 
Copan ; but there was no bargain for the use of the mules 
during that time, and he hoped that the vexations vre 
iftet with would make us go on immediately. When he 
found us bent on remaining, he swore he would not 


that if it had been a recent affectioni it would be mare 
within the reach of art ; but, as it was a case of old 
standing, it required time, skill, watching of symptoms, 
and the effect of medicine from day to day ; and, for 
the present, I advised her to take her feet ouV>f ^ pud- 
dle of water in which she was standing, and promised 
to consult Mr. Catherwood, who was even a better 
medico than I, and to send her a liniment with which 
to bathe her neck. 

This over, Don Jose Maria accompanied me to the 
ruins, where I found Mr. Catherwood with the Indian 
workmen. Again we wandered over the whole ground 
in search of some ruined building in which we could 
take up our abode, but there was none. To hang up 
our hammocks under the tr^s was madness ; the 
branches were still wet, the ground muddy, and again 
there was a prospect of early rain ; but we were deter* 
mined not to go back to Don Gregorio's. Don Mari- 
ano said that there was a hut near by, and conducted 
me to it. As we approached, we heard the screams of a 
woman inside, and, entering, saw her rolling and toss- 
uig on a bull's-hide bed, wild with fever and pain ; and| 
starting to her knees at the sight of me, with her hands 
pressed against her temples, and tears bursting £rom 
her eyes, she begged me, for the love of God, to give 
her some remedies. Her skin was hot, her pulse very 
high ; she had a violent intermitting fever. While in* 
quiring into her symptoms, her husband entered the hut, ^ 
a white man, about forty, dressed in a pair of dirty cot« 
ton drawers, with a nether garment hanging outside, a 
handkerchief tied around his head, and barefooted ; and 
his name was Dan Miguel. I told him that we wished to 
pass a few days among the ruins, and asked permission 
to stop at his hut. The woman, most happy at having 


a Bkilful physician neai bet, answered for him, and I re* 
turned to relieve Mr. Catherwood, and add another to 
his list of patients. The whoie party escorted us to the ^ 

hut, bringing along only the mule that carried the ham* m 

I mocks ; and by the addition of Mr. C. to the medical ^^^H 
corps, and a mysterious display of drawing maleriala ^^^^| 
and measuring rods, the poor woman's fever seemed ^^^B^ 
lightened away. * 

The hut stood on the edge of a clearing, on the 
ground once covered by the city, with a stone frag- J 

ment, hollowed out and used as a driuking-vessel if 

for cattle, almost at the very door. The clearing was | 

planted with corn and tobacco, and bounded on each ■ 

aide by the forest. The hut was about sixteen feet ^ 

square, with a peaked roof, thatched with husks of In- 
dian corn, made by setting in the ground two upright 
poles with crotches, in which another pole was laid to 
support the peak of the roof, and similar supports on J 

each side, but only about four feet high. The gable 
end was the front, and one half of it was thatched 
with corn-leaves, while the other remained open. The 
back patt was thatched, and piled up against it was 
Indian corn three ears deep. On one side the pile 
was unbroken, but on the other it was used down to 
within three or four feet of the ground. In the corner 
in front was the bed of Don Miguel and his wife, pro- 
tected by a bull's hide fastened at the head and side. 
The furniture consisted of a stone roller for mashing 
corn, and a comal or earthen griddle for baking tortil- 
las ; and on a rude shelf over the bed were two boxes, 
which contained the wardrobe and all the property of 
Don Miguel and. his wife, except Bartalo, their son and 
heir, an overgrown lad of twenty, whose naked body 
seemed to have burst up out of a pair of boy's tiou- 



0ers, disdaining a shirt, his stomach swollen by a dis* 
tressing liver complaint, and that and his livid fece 
clouded with dirt. There was only room enough for 
one hammock, and, in fact, the cross-sticks were not 
strong enough to support two men. The pile of com 
which had been used down was just high and broad 
enough for a bed ; by consent, I took this for my sleep* 
ing-place, and Mr. Catherwood hung up his hammock ; 
we were so glad at being relieved from the churlish 
hospitality of Don Gregorio, and so near the ruins, that 
all seemed snug and comfortable. 

After a noonday meal I mounted the luggage-muloi 
with only a halter to hold her, and, accompanied by 
Augustin on foot, set out for Don Ghregorio's, for the 
purpose of bringing over the luggage. The heavy rains 
had swollen the river, and Augustin was obliged to strip 
himself in order to ford it. Don Ghregorio was not at 
home ; and the muleteer, as usual, glad of a difficulty, 
said that it was impossible to cross the river with a car* 
go that day. Regularly, instead of helping us in our 
little difficulties, he did all that he could to increase 
them. He knew that, if we discharged him, we could 
get no mules in Copan except by sending off two days^ 
journey ; that we had no one on whom we could rely 
to send ; and that the delay would be at least a week. 
Uncertain at what moment it might be advisable to 
leave, and not wishing to be left destitute, I was com- 
pelled to hire him to remain, at a price which was con* 
sidered so exorbitant that it gave me a reputation for 
having "mucha plata," which, though it might be useful 
at home, I did not covet at Copan ; and, afraid to trust 
me, the rascal stipulated for daily payments. At that 
time I was not acquainted with the cash system of busi- 
ness prevailing in the country. The barbarians are not 

' 1 . * •" "-1 

-'■'-rj.- ■">■■■. - . J* . ■ "^ 



satisfied with your custom unless you pay them besides; 
and the whole, or a large portion, must be in advance. 
I was accidentally in arrears to the muleteer ; and, while 
I was congratulating myself on this only security for his 
good behaviour, he was torturing himself with the ap- 
prehension that I did not mean to pay at all. 

In the mean time it began to rain ; and, settling my 
accounts with the senora, thanking her for her kind- 
ness, leaving an order to have some bread baked for 
the next day, and taking with me an umbrella and a 
blue bag, contents imknown, belonging to Mr. Gather- 
wood, which he had particularly requested me to bring, 
I set out on my return. Augustin followed with a tin 
teapot, and some other articles for immediate use. 
Entering the woods, the umbrella struck against the 
branches of the trees, and frightened the mule ; and, 
while I was endeavouring to close it, she fairly ran 
away with me. Having only a halter, I could not hold 
her ; and, knocking me against the branches, she ran 
through the woods, splashed into the river, missing the 
fording-plaoe, and never stopped till she was breast- 
deep. The river was swollen and angry, and the rain 
pouring down. Rapids were foaming a short distance 
below. In the effort to restrain her, I lost Mr. Cather- 
wood's blue bag, caught at it with the handle of the 
umbrella, and would have saved it if the beast had 
stood still; but as it floated under her nose she snort- 
ed and started back. I broke the umbrella in driving 
her across ; and, just as I touched the shore, saw the 
bag floating toward the rapids, and Augustin, with his 
clothes in one hand and the teapot in the other, both 
above his head, steering down the river after it. Sup- 
posing it to contain some indispensable drawing mate- 
rials, I dashed among the thickets on the bank in the 


hope of intercepting it, but became entangled among 
branches and vines. I dismounted and tied my mule, 
and was two or three minutes working my way to the 
river, where I saw Augustin's clothes and the teapot, 
but nothing of him, and, with the rapids roaring below, 
had horrible apprehensions. It was impossible to con- 
tinue along the bank ; so, with a violent effort, I jump- 
ed across a rapid channel to a ragged island of sand 
covered with scrub bushes, and, running down to the 
end of it, saw the whole face of the river and the rap- 
ids, but nothing of Augustin. I shouted with all my 
strength, and, to my inexpressible relief, heard an an- 
swer, but, in the noise of the rapids, very faint ; pres- 
ently he appeared in the water, working himself around 
a point, and hauling upon the bushes. Relieved about 
him, I now found myself in a quandary. The jump 
back was to higher ground, the stream a torrent, and, 
the excitement over, I was afraid to attempt it. It would 
have been exceedingly inconvenient for me if Augustin 
had been drowned. Making his way through the 
bushes and down to the bank opposite with his drip- 
ping body, he stretched a pole across the stream, by 
springing upon which I touched the edge of the bank, 
slipped, but hauled myself up by the bushes with the 
aid of a lift from Augustin. All this time it was rain- 
ing very hard ; and now I had forgotten where I tied 
my mule. We were several minutes looking for her ; 
and wishing everything but good luck to the old bag, 
I mounted. Augustin, principally because he could 
carry them more conveniently on his back, put on his 

Reaching the village, I took shelter in the hut of Don 
Jose Maria, while Augustin, being in that happy state 
that cannot be made worse, continued through the rain. 


There was no one in the hut but a little girl, and the 
moment the rain abated I followed. I had another 
stream to cross, which was also much swollen, and the 
road was flooded. The road lay through a thick for- 
est ; very soon the clouds became blacker than ever ; 
on the left was a range of naked mountains, the old 
stone quarries of Copan, along which the thunder roll- 
ed fearfully, and the lightning wrote angry inscriptions 
on its sides. An English tourist in the United States 
admits the superiority of our thunder and lightning. I 
am pertinacious on all points of national honour, but 
concede this in favour of the tropics. The rain fell 
as if floodgates were opened from above ; and while 
my mule was slipping and sliding through the mud I 
lost my road. I returned some distance, and was again 
retracing my steps, when I met a woman, barefooted, 
and holding her dress above her knees, who proved to 
be my rheumatic patient, the wife of Don Jose Maria. 
While inquiring the road, I told her that she was set- 
ting at naught the skill of the physician, and added, 
what I believed to be very true, that she need not ex- 
pect to get well under our treatment. I rode on some 
distance, and again lost my way. It was necessary to 
enter the woods on the right. I had come out by a 
footpath which I had not noticed particularly. There 
were cattle-paths in every direction, and within the line 
of a mile I kept going in and out, without hitting the 
right one. Several times I saw the print of Augus- 
tin's feet, but soon lost them in puddles of water, and 
they only confused me more ; at length I came to a 
complete stand-still. It was nearly dark ; I did not 
know which way to turn ; and as Mr. Henry Pelham 
did when in danger of drowning in one of the gutters 
of Paris, I stood still and hallooed. To my great joy, 
Vol. I.— P 


I was answered by a roar from Augnstiny who had 
been lost longer than I, and was in even greater trib- 
ulation. He bad the teapot in his hand, the stump 
of an unlighted cigar in his mouth, was plastered 
with mud from his head to his heels, and altogether 
a most distressful object. We compared notes, and, 
selecting a path, shouting as we went, our united Toi- 
oes were answered by barking dogs and Mr. Gather* 
wood, who, alarmed at our absence, and apprehend- 
ing what had happened, was coming out with Don Mi- 
guel to look for us. I had no change of clothes, and 
therefore stripped and rolled myself up in a blanket in 
the style of a North American Indian. All the even- 
ing peals of thunder crashed over our heads, lightning 
illuminated the dark forest and flashed through the 
open hut, the rain fell in torrents, and Don Miguel 
said that there was a prospect of being cut off for aev* 
eral days from all communication with the oppofiito 
side of the river and from our luggage. NeverthelesSy 
we passed the evening with great satisfaction, smoking 
cigars of Copan tobacco, the most famed in Central 
America, of Don Miguel's own growing and his 
own making. 

Don Miguel, like myself that evening, had but lit 
wearing apparel ; but he was an intelligent and edQoa»» 
ted man, could read and write, bleed, and draw teeth 
or a law paper ; literary in his tastes, for he asked Au- 
gustin if we had any books : he said their being in 
English made no difference — ^books were good things ; 
and it was delightful to hear him express his con- 
tempt for the understanding of Don Gregorio. He 
was a sub-tenant on the estate, at a rent of four dollars 
a year, and was generally behindhand in his payments : 
he said be had not much to offer us ; but we felt, what 


selves, I resolved that ours they should be ; irith visions 
of glory and indistinct fancies of receiving" the ihankB 
of the corporation flitting before my eyes, I drew my 
blanket around me, and fell asleep.. 



How to bogin.— Commencement of Explontions. — Interest created by these 
RnfaM.— Visit from the Alcalde.— Fezatioiis Snspicions.— A welcome Visiter. 
—Letter from General Cascaia.-- Baying a City.— Visit from Don Oregorio's 
Family.— Distiibntion of Medicines. 

At daylight the clouds still hung over the forest ; 
as the 8iin rose they cleared away ; our workmen 
made their appearance, and at nine o'clock we left the 
hut. The branches of the trees were dripping wet, 
and the ground very muddy. Trudging once more 
over the district which contained the principal monu- 
ments, we were startled by the immensity of the work 
before us, and very soon we concluded that to explore 
the whole extent would be impossible. Our guides 
knew only of this district ; but having seen columns 
beyond the village, a league distant, we had reason to 
believe that others were strewed in different directions, 
completely buried in the woods, and entirely unknown. 
The woods were so dense that it was almost hopeless 
to think of penetrating them. The only way to make 
m thorough exploration would be to cut down the whole 
forest and bum the trees. This was incompatible with 
onr immediate purposes, might be considered taking 
liberties, and could only be done in the dry season. 
After deliberation, we resolved first to obtain drawings 
of the sculptured columns. Even in this there was 
great difficulty. The designs were very complicated, 
and so different from anything Mr. Catherwood had 
ever seen before as to be perfectly unintelligible. The 
outting was in very high relief, and required a strong 


body of light to bring up the figures ; and the foliage 
was so thick, and the shade so deep, that drawing -wbb 

After much consultation, we selected one of the 
" idols," and determined to cut down the trees around 
it, and thus lay it open to the rays of the sun. Here 
again was difficulty. There was no axe ; and the onlj 
instrument which the Indians possessed was the ma- 
chete, or chopping-knife, which varies in form in differ- 
ent sections of the country ; wielded with one hand, it 
was useful in clearing away shrubs and branches, but 
almost harmless upon large trees ; and the Indians^ as 
in the days when the Spaniards discovered them, ap- 
plied to work without ardour, catried it on with little 
activity, and, like children, were easily diverted from 
it. One hacked into a tree, and, when tired, which 
happened very soon, sat down to rest, and another re- 
lieved him. While one worked there were always 
several looking on. I remembered the ring of the 
woodman's axe in the forests at home, and wished for 
a few long-sided Green Mountain boys. But we had 
been buffeted into patience, and watched the TtiHiifcyiff 
while they hacked with their machetes, and even won- 
dered that they succeeded so well. At length the trees- 
were felled and dragged aside, a space cleared around 
the base, Mr. C.'s frame set up, and he set to work. I 
took two Mestitzoes, Bruno and Francisco, and, offer- 
ing them a reward for every new discovery, with a. 
compass in my hand set out on a tour of exploration. 
Neither had seen ^Uhe idols" until the morning of our 
first visit, when they followed in our train to laugh at los 
Ingleses ; but very soon they exhibited such an interest 
that I hired them. Bruno attracted my attention by his 
admiration, as I supposed, of my person; but I found it 


over it, all created an interest higher, if possible, than I 
had ever felt among the ruins of the Old World. After 
several hours' absence I returned to Mr. Catherwoody 
and reported upward of fifty objects to be copied. 

I found him not so well pleased as I expected with 
my report. He was standing with his feet in the mud, 
and was drawing with his gloves on, to protect his 
hands from the moschetoes. As we feared, the designs 
were so intricate and complicated, the subjects so en- 
tirely new and unintelligible, that he had great diffi- 
culty in drawing. He had made several attempts, both 
with the camera lucida and without, but failed to sat* 
isfy himself or even me, who was less severe in criti* 
cism. The " idol" seemed to defy his art ; two mon* 
keys on a tree on one side appeared to be laughing at 
him, and I felt discouraged and despondent. In fact, 
I made up my mind, with a pang of regret, that we 
must abandon the idea of carrying away any materials 
for antiquarian speculation, and must be content with 
having seen them ourselves. Of that satisfaction no- 
thing could deprive us. We returned to the hut with 
our interest undiminished, but sadly out of heart as to 
the result of our labours. 

Our luggage had not been able to cross the river, but 
the blue bag which had caused me so many troubles 
was recovered. I had offered a dollar reward, and 
Bartalo, the heir-apparent of the lesseeship of our hut^ 
had passed the day in the river, and found it entangled, 
in a bush upon the bank. His naked body seemed glad 
of its accidental washing, and the bag, which we sup- 
posed to contain some of Mr. C.'s drawing materials, 
being shaken, gave out a pair of old boots, which, how- 
ever, were at that time worth their weight in gold, be- 
ing water-proof, and cheered Mr. Catherwood's droop- 


minding us of the Arabs. In a few minutes the alcalde 
started up suddenly, made a staggering bow, and lefit 
us, and they all followed, Don Miguel with them* 
While we were at supper he returned, and it was easy 
to see that he, and his wife, and Bartalo were in trou- 
ble, and, as we feared, the matter concerned us. 

While we were busy with our own affiiirs, we had but 
little idea what a sensation we were creating in the vil* 
lage. Not satisfied with getting us out of his house, 
Don Gregorio wanted to get us out of the neighbour* 
hood. Unluckily, besides his instinctive dislike, we had 
offended him in drawing off some of his workmen by the 
high prices which, as strangers, we were obliged to pay, 
and he began to look upon us as rivals, and said every* 
where that we were suspicious characters; that we 
should be the cause of disturbing the peace of Copan, 
and introducing soldiers and war into the neighbour- 
hood. In confirmation of this, two Indians passed 
through the village, who reported that we had escaped 
from imprisonment, bad been chased to the borders of 
Honduras by a detachment of twenty*five soldiers under 
Landaveri, the officer who arrested us, and that, if we 
had been taken, we would have been shot. The alcalde, 
who had been drunk ever since our arrival, resolved to 
visit us, to solve the doubts of the village, and take 
those measures which the presence of such dangerous 
persons and the safety of the country might require* 
But this doughty purpose was frustrated by a ludicrous 
circumstance. We made it a rule to carry our arms 
with us to the ruins, and when we returned to the hut 
to receive his visit, as usual, each of us had a brace 
of pistols in his belt and a gun in hand ; and our ap- 
pearance was so formidable that the alcalde was fright- 
ened at his own audacity in having thought of catechi- 


mending nxe very highly, and stating my purpose of 
travelling through the country. This last letter was 
more important than anything eke ; and if it had beea 
directed to one of the opposite party in politicsi it would 
have been against us, as confirming the suspicion of 
our being << ennemigos." Never was greatness so 
much under a shade. Though vexatious, it was almost 
anmsing to be obliged to clear iq> our character to such 
a miserable party as Don Miguel, his wife, and Barta- 
lo; but it was indispensable to relieve them from 
doubts and anxieties, enabling us to remain quietly in 
their wretched hut ; and the relief they experienced, and 
the joy of the woman in learning that we were tolerably 
respectable people, not enemies, and not in danger of 
being put up and shot at, were most grateful to us. 

Nevertheless, Don Miguel advised us to go to Guati* 
mala or to General Cascara, procure an order to visit 
the ruins, and then return. We had made a fiedse step 
in one particular ; we should have gone direct to Guati- 
mala, and returned with a passport and letters from the 
government ; but, as we had no time to spare, and did 
not know what there was at C<qpan, probably if we had 
not taken it on the way we should have missed it alto* 
gather. And we did not know that the oountry wss so 
completely secluded ; the people are less 
the sight of strangers than the Arabs about Mount 8inai| 
and they are much more suspicious. Colonri Gkdindo 
was the only stranger who had been there before US| 
and he could hardly be called a stranger, for he was a 
colonel in the Central American service, and visited the 
ruins under a commission from the government. Our 
visit has perhaps had some influence upon the feelings 
of the people ; it has, at all events, taught Don Gre* 
gorio that strangers are not easily got rid of; but I 



advise any one who wishes to visit these ruins in peacci 
to go to Groatimala first, and apply to the government 
for all the protection it can give. As to us, it was too 
late to think of this, and all we had to do was to main- 
tain our ground as quietly as we could. We had no 
apprehension of soldiers coming from any other place 
merely to molest us. Don Miguel told us, what we 
had before observed, that there was not a musket in the 
village ; the quality and excellence of our arms were 
well known; the muleteer had reported that we were 
outrageous fellows, and had threatened to shoot him ; 
and the alcalde was an excessive coward. We formed 
an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Don Miguel, 
his wife, and Bartalo, and went to sleep. Don Miguel 
and his wife, by-the-way, were curious people; they 
slept with their heads at different ends of the bed, so 
that, in the unavoidable accompaniment of smoking, 
they could clear each other. 

In the morning we were relieved from our difficulty, 
and put in a position to hurl defiance at the traducers 
of our character. While the workmen were gathering 
outside the hut, an Indian courier came trotting through 
the cornfield up to the door, who inquired for Sefior 
Ministro; and pulling off his petate, took out of the 
erown a letter, which he said he was ordered by Gen- 
eral Cascara to deliver into the right hands. It was di- 
rected to " Sefior Catherwood, h. Comotan 6 donde se 
halle," conveying the expression of General Cascara's 
regret for the arrest at Comotan, ascribing it to the ig- 
norance or mistake of the alcalde and soldiers, and 
enclosing, besides, a separate passport for Mr. Cather- 
wood. I have great satisfaction in acknowledging the 
receipt of this letter ; and the promptness with which 
General Cascara despatched it to << Comotan, or wher- 


ever he may be found/' was no less' than I expected 
fincmi his character and station. I requested Don Mi- 
guel to read it aloud, told the Indian to delirer our com- 
pliments to General Cascarai and sent him to the vil- 
lage to breakfast, with a donation which I knew would 
make him publish the story with right emphasis and 
discretion. Don Miguel smiled, his wife laughed, and 
a few spots of white flashed along Bartalo's dirty skin* 
Stocks rose, and I resolved to ride to the village, 
strengthen the cords of firiendship with Don Jose Maria, 
visit our patients, defy Don Ghregoiio, and get np a 
party in Copan« 

Mr. Catherwood went to the ruins to ccmtinue his 
drawings, and I to the village, taking Augustin with me 
to fire the Balize guns, and buy up eatables for a little 
more than they were worth* My first visit was to Don 
Jose Maria. After clearing up our character, I broacdied 
the subject of a purchase of the ruins ; told him that, on 
account of my public business, I could not remain as 
long as I desired, but wished to return with spades, 
pickaxes, ladders, crowbars, and men, build a hut to 
live in, and make a thorough exploration; that I could 
not incur the expense at the risk of being refused perw 
mission to do so ; and, in short, in plain Bnglish, asked 
him, What will you take for the ruins ? I think he was 
not more surprised than if I had asked to bay his poor 
old wife, our rheumatic patient, to practice medicine 
upon. He seemed to doubt which of us was out of his 
senses. The property was so utterly worthless that 
my wanting to buy it seemed very suspicious. On ex- 
amining the paper, I found that he did not own the fee, 
but held under a lease from Don Bernardo de Aguila, 
of which three years were unexpired. The tract con- 
sisted of about six thousand acres, for which he paid 

.•^P^.;N»jgft^. >-^w.- J,. ■; -.■^^*ffw--i«?;?/, 



eighty dollars a year ; he was at a loss what to do, but 
told me that he would reflect upon it, consult his wife, 
and give me an answer at the hut the next day. I then 
yisited the alcalde, but he was too tipsy to be suscepti- 
ble of any impression ; prescribed for several patients ; 
and instead of going to Don Gregorio's, sent him a 
polite request by Don Jose Maria to mind his own busi- 
ness and let us alone ; returned, and passed the rest of 
the day among the ruins. It rained during the night, 
but again cleared off in the morning, and we were on 
the ground early. My business was to go around with 
workmen to clear away trees and bushes, dig, and ex* 
cavate, and prepare monuments for Mr. Catherwood to 
copy. While so engaged, I was called off by a visit 
from Don Jose Maria, who was still undecided what to 
do ; and not wishing to appear too anxious, told him to 
take more time, and come again the next morning. 

The next morning he came, and his condition was 
truly pitiable. He was anxious to convert unproduc- 
tive property into money, but afraid, and said that I 
was a stranger, and it might bring him into difficulty 
with the government. I again went into proof of char- 
acter, and engaged to save him harmless with the gov- 
ernment or release him. Don Miguel read my letters 
of recommendation, and re-read the letter of General 
Cascara. He was convinced, but these papers did not 
give him a right to sell me his land ; the shade of sus- 
picion still lingered ; for a finale, I opened my trunk, 
and put on a diplomatic coat, with a profusion of large 
eagle buttons. I had on a Panama hat, soaked with 
rain and spotted with mud, a check shirt, white panta- 
loons, yellow up to the knees with mud, and was about 
as outr6 as the negro king who received a company of 
British officers on the coast of Africa in a cocked hat 


and military coat, without any inexpressibles ; but Don 
Jose Maria could not withstand the buttons on my coat; 
the cloth was the finest he had ever seen ; and Don 
Miguel, and his wife, and Bartalo realized fully that 
they had in their hut an iUustrious incognito. The only 
question was who should find paper on which to draw 
the contract. I did not stand upon trifles, and gave 
Don Miguel some paper, who took our mutual instruc- 
tions, and appointed the next day for the execution of 
the deed. • 

The reader is perhaps curious to know how old 
cities sell in Central America. Like other articles of 
trade, they are regulated by the quantity in market, 
and the demand; but, not being staple articles, like 
cotton and indigo, they were held at &ncy prices, and 
at that time were dull of sale. I paid fifty dollars for 
Copan. There was never any difficulty about price. 
I offered that sum, for which Don Jose Maria thought 
me only a fool ; if I had offered more, he would prob- 
ably have considered me something worse. 

We had regular communications with the hacienda 
by means of Francisco, who brought thence every morn- 
ing a large waccal of milk, carrying it a distance of 
three miles, and fording the river twice. The ladies 
of the hacienda had sent us word that they intended 
paying us a visit, and this morning Don G^gorio's 
wife appeared, leading a procession of all the women 
of the house, servants, and children, with two of her 
sons. We received them among the ruins, seated them 
as well as we could, and, as the first act of civility, gave 
them cigars all around. It can hardly be believed, but 
not one of them, not even Don Gregorio's sons, had 
ever seen the " idols" before, and now they were much 
more curious to see Mr. C.'s drawings. In fact, I be- 



Surrey of the Ruins.— Account of them bj Huairoe and bj Colonti Oelinda 
—Their Situatioii.— Their Extent— Plin of Surrey.— Pyramidal Structures. — 
Rows of Death's Heads.— Remarkable Portrait—" Idols.**— Character of the 
Engrarings.- Ranges of Terraces.— A Portrait — Courtyards.— Curious Altar. 
— Tablets of Hieroglyphics. — Gigantic Head.— Stone Quarries.— More Appli- 
cants for Medicine. — ** Idols** and Altera.- Buried Image. — Material of the 
Statues.— Idols originally painted.— Circular Altar.— Antiquity of Copan. 

That night there was no rain, and the next day, as 
the ground was somewhat dry, we commenced a regu- 
lar survey of the ruins. It was my first essay in engi- 
neering. Our surveying apparatus was not very exten- 
sive. We had a good surveying compass, and the rest 
consisted of a reel of tape which Mr. C. had used in 
a survey of the ruins of Thebes and Jerusalem. My 
part of the business was very scientific. I had to direct 
the Indians in cutting straight lines through the woodsi 
make Bruno and Frederico stick their hats on poles to 
mark the stations, and measure up to them. The sec- 
ond day we were thoroughly in the spirit of it. 

That day Don Jose Maria refused to execute the oont- 
tract. Don Gregorio was the cause. He had ceased to 
interfere with us, but at the idea of our aetoaliy taking 
root in the neighbourhood he could not contain himself^ 
and persuaded Don Jose Maria that he would get into 
difficulty by having anything to do with us ; he even 
told him that General Cascara's passport was worth- 
less, and that General Cascara himself had gone over 
to Morazan. He carried his point for the moment, but 
in the end we beat him, and the contract was executed. 

After three days of very hard but very interesting la- 
bour, we finished the survey, the particulars of which I 
intend to inflict upon the reader ; but before doing so 


were published in the proceedings of the Boyal G«0« 
graphical Society of Paris, and in the Literary Gazette, 
of London. He is the only man in that country who 
has given any attention at all to the subject of antiqui* 
ties, or who has ever presented Copan to the consider- 
ation of Europe and our own country. Not being 
an artist, his account is necessarily unsatisfactory and 
imperfect, but it is not exaggerated. Indeed, it falls 
short of the marvellous account given by Fuentes one 
hundred and thirty-five years before, and makes no 
mention of the moveable stone hammock, with the sit- 
ting figures, which were our great inducement to visit 
the ruins. No plans or, drawings have ever been pub- 
lished, nor anything that can give even an idea of that 
valley of romance and wonder, where, as has been re- 
marked, the genii who attended on King Solomon seem 
to have been the artists. 

It lies in the district of country now known as the 
State of Honduras, one of the most fertile valleys in 
Central America, and to this day famed for the supe- 
riority of its tobacco. Mr. Catherwood made several 
attempts to determine the longitude, but the artificial 
horizon which we took with us expressly for such pur- 
poses had become bent, and, like the barometer, was 
useless. The ruins are on the left bank of the Ckypan 
River, which empties into the Motagua, and so paawt 
into the Bay of Honduras near Omoa, distant perhaps 
three hundred miles from the sea. The Copan River 
is not navigable, even for canoes, except for a short 
time in the rainy season. Falls interrupt its course be- 
fore it empties into the Motagua. Cortez, in his terri- 
ble journey from Mexico to Honduras, of the hardships 
of which, even now, when the country is comparatively 
open, and free from masses of enemies, it is difficult to 


form a conception, must have passed within two days' 
march of this city. 

The extent along the river, as ascertained by monu- 
ments still found, is more than two miles. There is 
one monument on the opposite side of the river, at the 
distance of a mile, on the top of a mountain two thou- 
sand feet high. Whether the city ever crossed the 
river, and extended to that monument, it is impossible 
to say. I believe not. At the rear is an unexplored 
forest, in which there may be ruins. There are no re- 
mains of palaces or private buildings, and the principal 
part is that which stands on the bank of the river, and 
may, perhaps, with propriety be called the Temple. 

This temple is an oblong enclosure. The front or 
river wall extends on a right line north and south six 
hundred and twenty-four feet, and it is from sixty to 
ninety feet in height. It is made of cut stones, from 
three to six feet in length, and a foot and a half in 
breadth. In many places the stones have been thrown 
down by bushes growing out of the crevices, and in 
one place there is«a small opening, from which the ruins 
are sometimes called by the Indians Las Ventanas, or 
the windows. The other three sides consist of ranges 
of steps and pyramidal structures, rising from thirty to 
one hundred and forty feet in height on the slope. The 
whole line of survey is two thousand, eight hundred and 
sixty-six feet, which, though gigantic and extraordinary 
for a ruined structure of the aborigines, that the read- 
er's imagination may not mislead him, J consider it ne- 
cessary to say, is not so large as the base of the great 
Pyramid of Ghizeh. 

The engraving opposite give9 the plan according to 
our survey, a reference to which will assist the reader 
to understand the description. 



To begin on the right : Near the southwest oorner of 
the river wall and the south wall is a recessi which was 
probably once occupied by a colossal monument front- 
ing the water, no part of which is now visible ; proba* 
bly it has fallen and been brokeui and the fragments 
have been buried or washed away by the floods of the 
rainy seascm. Beyond are the remains of two small 
pyramidal structures, to the largest of which is attached 
a wall running along the west bank of the river ; this 
appears to have been one of the principal walls of the 
city ; and between the two pyramids there seems to 
have been a gateway oriipiineipal entrance from the 

The south wall runs at right angles to the river, be- 
ginning with a range of steps about thirty feet high, and 
each step about eighteen inches square. At the south* 
east corner is a massive pyramidal structure one han« 
dred and twenty feet high on the slope. On the right 
are other remains of terraces and pyramidal buildings; 
and here also was probably a gateway, by a passage 
about twenty feet wide, into a quadrangular area two 
hundred and fifty feet square, two sides of which are 
massive pyramids one hundred and twenty feet high on 
the slope. 

At the foot of these structures, and in different parts 
of the quadrangular area, are numerous remains of 
sculpture. At the point marked E is a colossal monu- 
ment richly sculptured, fallen, and ruined. Behind it 
fragments of sculpture, thrown from their places by 
trees, are strewed and lying loose on the side of the 
pyramid, from the base to the top ; and among them our 
attention was forcibly arrested by rows of death's heads 
of gigantic proportions, still standing in their places 
about half way up the side of the pyramid ; the effect 


mals were worshipped as deities by the people who 
built Copan. 

Among the fragments lying on the ground, near this 
place, is a remarkable portrait, of which the following 
engraving is a representation. It is probably the por- 

trait of some king, chieftain, or sage. The month is 
injured, and part of the ornament over the wreath that 
crowns the bead. The expression is noble and severe, 
and the whole character shows a close imitation of na- 

At the point marked H stands one of the columns or 
" idols" which give the peculiar character to the ruins 
of Copan, the front of which forms the frontispiece to 
this volume, and to which I particularly request the at- 
tention of the reader. It stands with its face to the 

% *^ 


east, abont six feet from the base of the pyramidal wall. 
It is thirteen feet in height, four feet in front, and three 
deep, sculptured on all four of its sides from the base 
to the top, and one of the richest and most elaborate 
specimens in the whole extent of the ruins. Originally 
it was painted, the marks of red colour being still dis* 
tinctly visible. Before it, at a distance of about eight 
feet, is a large block of sculptured stone, which the In- 
dians call an altar. The subject of the front is a full- 
length figure, the face wanting beard, and of a feminine 
cast, though the dress seems that of a man. On the 
two sides are rows of hieroglyphics, which probably 
recite the history of this mysterious personage. 

As the monuments speak for themselves, I shall ab« 
stain from any verbal description ; and I have so many 
to present to the reader, all differing very greatly in 
detail, that it will be impossible, within reasonable lim- 
its, to present our own speculations as to their charac- 
ter. I will only remark that, from the beginning, our 
great object and effort was to procure true copies of the 
originals, adding nothing for effect as pictures. Mr. 
Catherwood made the outline of all the drawings with 
the camera lucida, and divided his paper into sections, 
so as to preserve the utmost accuracy of proportion. 
The engravings were made with the same regard to 
truth, from drawings reduced by Mr. Catherwood him- 
self, the originals being also in the bands of the engra- 
ver ; and I consider it proper to mention that a portion 
of them, of which the frontispiece was one, were sent 
to London, and executed by engravers on wood whose 
names stand among the very first in England ; yet, 
though done with exquisite skill, and most effective as 
pictures, they failed in giving the true character and 
expression of the originals ; and, at some considerable 

Vol, I.— 8 


loM both of time and money, were all thrown aaidey 
and re^ngraved on steel. Proofs of every plate were 
given to Mr. Catherwood, who made such correctioiis 
as were necessary; and, in my opinion, they are as 
true copies as can be presented ; and, except the stones 
themselves, the reader cannot have better materials for 
speculation and study. 

Following the v^all, at the place marked C is anoth- 
er monument or idol of the same size, and in many re- 
spects similar. The engraving opposite represents the 
back. The character of this image, as it stands at the 
foot of the pyramidal waU, with masses of fallen stone 
resting against its base, is grand, and it would be diffi- 
cult to exceed the richness of the ornament and sharp- 
ness of the sculpture. This, too, was painted, and the 
red is still distinctly visible. 

The whole quadrangle is overgrown with trees, and 
interspersed with fragments of fine sculpture, partic- 
ularly on the east side, and at the northeast corner is a 
narrow passage, which was probably a third gateway. 

On the right is a confused range of terraces running 
off into the forest, ornamented with death's heads, some 
of which are still in position, and others lying about as 
they have fallen or been thrown down. Turning north- 
ward, the range on the left hand continues a high, 
massive pyramidal structure, with trees growing out of 
it to the very top. At a short distance is a detached 
pyramid, tolerably perfect, marked on the plan Z, about 
fifty feet square and thirty feet high. The range con- 
tinues for a distance of about four hundred feet, de- 
creasing somewhat in height, aind along this there are 
but few remains of sculpture. 

The range of structures turns at right angles to the 
left, and runs to the river, joining the other extremity 

.m, • .^••-'-^ » 


■ 1 



ontflide to the terraces, and thence to the holy places 
within to pay their adoration in the temple. 

Within this enclosure are two rectangular court- 
yards, having ranges of steps ascending to terraces. 
The area of each is about forty feet above the river. 
Of the larger and most distant from the river the steps 
have all fallen, and constitute mere mounds. On one 
side, at the foot of the pyramidal wall, is the monument 
or '^ idol" marked B, of which the engraving repre- 
sents the front. It is about the same height with the 
others, but differs in shape, being larger at the top 
than below. Its appearance and character are tasteful 
and pleasing, but the sculpture is in much lower relief ; 
the expression of the hands is good, though somewhat 
formal. The figure of a man shows the relative height. 
The back and sides are covered with hieroglyphics. 

Near this, at the point marked A, is a remarkable 
altar, which perhaps presents as curious a subject of 
speculation as any monument in Copan. The altars, 
like the idols', are all of a single block of stone. In 
general they are not so richly ornamented, and are 
more faded and worn, or covered with moss; some 
were completely buried, and of others it was difficult to 
make out more than the form. All differed in fashioDi 
and doubtless had some distinct and peculiar reference 
to the idols before which they stood. This stands on 
four globes cut out of the same stone ; the sculpture is 
in bas-relief, and it is the only specimen of that kind 
of sculpture found at Copan, all the rest being in bold 
alto-relievo. It is six feet square and four feet high, 
and the top is divided into thirty-six tablets of hiero- 
glyphics, which beyond doubt record some event in the 
history of the mysterious people who once inhabited the 

i. PORTRAIT. 189 

ot the "waU, at which we began oui surrey. The bank 
was elevated about thirty feet above the river, and had 
been piotected by a wall of stone, most of which had 
bllen down. Among the fragments lying on the ground 
on thia aide is the portrait here given. 

The plan was complicated, and, the whole ground 
being overgrown with tieea, difficult to make out. 
There was no entire pyramid, but, at most, two or 
three pyramidal sides, and these joined on to terraces 
or other structures of the same kind. Beyond the 
wall of enclosure were walla, terraces, and pyramidal 
elevations mnoing off into the forest, which some- 
times confused us. Probably the whole was not erect- 
ed at the same time, but additions were made and 
statues erected by different kings, or, perhaps, in com< 
memoration of important events in the history of the 
city. Along the whole line were ranges of steps with 
pyramidal elevations, probably crowned on the top with 
buili^ngs or altars now ruined. All these steps and the 
pyramidal sides were painted, and the reader may ima- 
gine the effect when the whole country was clear of 
forest, and priest and people were ascending from the 



city. The lines are still distinctly visible, and a faithful 
copy appears in the following cut. 

C^TmtK*^** fi. 


The nex-t two engravings exhibit the four sides of this 
altar. Each side represents four individuals. On the 
west side are the two principal personages, chiefs or 
warriors, with their faces opposite each other, and ap- 
parently engaged in argument or negotiation. The 
other fourteen are divided into two equal parties, and 
seem to be following their leaders. Each of the two 
principal figures is seated cross-legged, in the Oriental 
fashion, on a hieroglyphic which probably designates 
his name and office, or character, and on three of which 


the serpent forms part. Between the two principal per- 
sonages is a remarkable cartouche, containing two hie- 
roglyphics well preserved, which reminded us strong- 
ly of the Egyptian method of giving the names of the 
kings or heroes in whose honour monuments were erect- 
ed. The headdresses are remarkable for their curious 
and complicated form ; the figures have all breastplatesi 
and one of the two principal characters holds in his 
hand an instrument, which may, perhaps, be considered 
a sceptre ; each of the others holds an object which can 
be only a subject for speculation and conjecture. It 
may be a weapon of war, and, if so, it is the only thing 
of the kind found represented at Copan. In other 
countries, battle-scenes, warriors, and weapons of war 
are among the most prominent subjects of sculpture ; 
and from the entire absence of them here there is rea- 
son to believe that the people were not warlike, but 
peaceable, and easily subdued. 

The other courtyard is near the river. By cutting 
down the trees, we discovered the entrance to be on 
the north side, by a passage thirty feet wide and aboat 
three hundred feet long. On the right is a high range 
of steps rising to the terrace of the river wall. At the 
foot of this are six circular stones, from eighteen inches 
to three feet in diameter, perhaps once the pedestals of 
columns or monuments now fallen and buried. On the 
left side of the passage is a high pyramidal structure, 
with steps six feet high and nine feet broad, like the 
side of one of the pyramids at Saccara, and one hun- 
dred and twenty-two feet high on the slope. The top 
is fallen, and has two immense Ceiba trees growing out 
of it, the roots of which have thrown down the stones, 
and now bind the top of the pyramid. At the end of 
the passage is the area or courtyard, probably the great 



■-t.-^:** ■■ ■;■ .■ ■ .- . r 

• ... • 

" II iMM^W^iaw,, 


csrcQB of Fuentes, but which, instead of being circular, 
iBiectangular, one hundred and forty feet long and nine- 
ty broadi with stepe on all the sides. This was proba- 
bly the most holy place in the temple. Beyond doubt 
it had been the theatre of great events and of imposing 
religious ceremonies ; but what those ceremonies were, 
or who were the actors in them, or what had brought 
them to such a fearful close, were mysteries which it was 
impossible to fathom. There was no idol or altar, nor 
were there any vestiges of them. On the left, standing 
alonei two thirds of the way up the steps, is the gigan- 
tic head opposite. It is moved a little from its place, 
and a portion of the ornament on one side has been 
thrown down some distance by the expansion of the 
trunk of a large tree, as shown by the drawing. The 
head is about six feet high, and the style good. Like 
many of the others, with the great expansion of the 
eyes it seems intended to inspire awe. On either side 
of it| distant about thirty or forty feet, and rather lower 
down, are other fragments of sculpture of colossal di- 
mensions and good design, and at the foot are two co- 
lossal heads turned over and partly buried, well worthy 
the attention of future travellers and artists. The 
whole area is overgrown with trees and encumbered 
with decayed vegetable matter, with fragments of curi- 
ous sculpture protruding above the surface, which, prob- 
ably with many others completely buried, would be 
brought to light by digging. 

On the opposite side, parallel with the river, is a 
range of fifteen steps to a terrace twelve feet wide, and 
then fifteen steps more to another terrace twenty feet 
wide, extending to the river wall. On each side of the 
centre of the steps is a mound of ruins, apparently of 
a circular tower. About half way up the steps on this 


side is a pit five feet square and seventeen feet deep^ 
cased with stone. At the bottom is an opening two 
feet four inches high, with a wall one foot nine inches 
thick, which leads into a chamber ten feet long, five 
feet eight inches wide, and four feet high. At each end 
is a niche one foot nine inches high, one foot eight inch- 
es deep, and two feet five inches long. • Colonel Ghdin- 
do first broke into this sepulchral vault, and found the 
niches and the ground full of red earthenware dishes 
and pots, more than fifty of which, he says, were fiiU 
of human bones, packed in lime. Also several sharp* 
edged and pointed knives of chaya, a small death's 
head carved in a fine green stone, its eyes nearly closed, 
the lower features distorted, and the back symmetrical- 
ly perforated by holes, the whole of exquisite work- 
manship. Immediately- above the pit which leads to 
this vault is a passage leading through the terrace to 
the river wall, from which, as before mentioned, the 
ruins are sometimes called Las Ventanas, or the ynn.'^ 
dows. It is one foot eleven inches at the bottom, and 

one foot at the top, in I I this form, and barely^ 

large enough for a man to crawl through on his face. 

There were no remains of buildings. In regard to 
the stone hammock mentioned by Fuentes, and which, 
in fact, was our great inducement to visit these ruins, 
we made special inquiry and search for it, but saw no- 
thing of it. Colonel Galindo does not mention it. 
Still it may have existed, and may be there still, broken 
and buried. The padre of Gualan told us that he had 
seen it, and in our inquiries among the Indians we met 
with one who told us that he had heard his father say 
that his father, two generations back, had spoken of such 
a monument. 





1 have omitted the particulars of our survey ; the dif- 
ficulty and labour of opening lines through the trees ; 
climbing up the sides of the ruined pyramids ; meas- 
uring steps, and the aggravation of all these from our 
want of materials and help, and our imperfect knowl- 
edge of the language. The people of Copan could not 
comprehend what we were about, and thought we were 
practising some black art to discover hidden treasure. 
Bruno and Francisco, our principal coadjutors, were 
completely mystified, and even the monkeys seemed 
embarrassed and confused; these counterfeit present- 
ments of ourselves aided not a little in keeping alive the 
strange interest that hung over the place. They had 
no '' monkey tricks," but were grave and solemn as if 
officiating as the guardians of consecrated ground. In 
the morning they were quiet, but in the afternoon they 
came out for a promenade on the tops of the trees ; and 
sometimes, as they looked steadfastly at us, they seemed 
on the point of asking us why we disturbed the repose 
of the ruins. I have omitted, too, what aggravated our 
hardships and disturbed our sentiment, apprehensions 
from scorpions, and bites of moschetoes and garrapatas 
or ticks, the latter of which, in spite of precautions (pan- 
taloons tied tight over our boots and coats buttoned 
close in the throat), got under our clothes, and buried 
themselves in the flesh ; at night, moreover, the hut of 
Don Miguel was alive with fleas, to protect ourselves 
against which, on the third night of our arrival we 
sewed up the sides and one end of our sheets, and 
thrust ourselves into them as we would into a sack. 
And while in the way of mentioning our troubles I may 
add, that during this time the flour of the hacienda gave 
out, we were cut off from bread, and brought down to 

Vol. I.— T 13 


The day after our sunrey was finiahed, as m relief we 
set out for a walk to the old stone quarries of Copan. 
Very soon we abandoned the path along the river, and 
turned off to the left. The ground was brokeUi the 
forest thick, and all the way we had an Indian before 
us with his machete, cutting down branches and sap^ 
lings. The range lies about two miles north from the 
river, and runs east and west. At the foot of it we 
crossed a wild stream* The side of the mount- 
ain was overgrown with bushes and trees. The top 
was bare, and commanded a magnificent view of a 
dense forest, broken only by the winding of the Copan 
River, and the clearings for the haciendas of Don Gre- 
gorio and Don MigueL The city was buried in forest 
and entirely hidden from sight. Imagination peopled 
the quarry with workmen, and laid bare the city to their 
view. Here, as the sculptor worked, he turned to the 
theatre of his glory, as the Greek did to the Acropolis 
of Athens, and dreamed of immortal fame. Little did 
he imagine that the time would come when his works 
would perish, his race be extinct, his city a desolation 
and abode for reptiles, for strangers to gaze at and won* 
der by what race it had once been inhabited. 

The stone is of a soft grit. The range extended a 
long distance, seemingly unconscious that stone enough 
had been taken from its sides to build a city. How the 
huge masses were transported over the irregular and 
broken surface we had crossed, and particularly how 
one of them was set up on the top of a moimtain two 
thousand feet high, it was impossible to conjecture. In 
many places were blocks which had been quarried out 
and rejected for some defect ; and at one spot, midway 
in a ravine leading toward the river, was a gigantic 
block, much larger than any we saw in the city, which 


rio's family; but during the evening I was attracted 
by the tone in which the mother spoke of the daughter, 
and for the first time noticed in the latter an extreme 
delicacy of figure and a pretty foot, with a neat shoe 
and clean stocking. She had a shawl drawn over her 
head, and on speaking to her she removed the shawl, 
and turned up a pair of the most soft and dovelike eyes 
that mine ever met. She was the first of our patients 
in whom I took any interest, and I could not deny my- 
self the physician's privilege of taking her hand in 
mine. While she thought we were consulting in re- 
gard to her malady, we were speaking of her interesting 
face ; but the interest which we took in her was melan- 
choly and painful, for we felt that she was a delicate 
flower, born to bloom but for a season, and, even at the 
moment of unfolding its beauties, doomed to die. 

The reader is aware that our hut had no partition 
walls. Don Miguel and his wife gave up their bed to 
two of the women ; she herself slept on a mat on the 
ground with the other. Mr. C. slept in his hanunock, 
I on my bed of Indian corn, and Don Miguel and the 
young men under a shed out of doors. 

I passed two or three days more in making the clear- 
ings and preparations, and then Mr. Catherwood had 
occupation for at least a month. When we turned off 
to visit these ruins, we did not expect to find employ- 
ment for more than two or three days, and I did not 
consider myself at liberty to remain longer. I appre- 
hended a desperate chase after a government ; and fear- 
ing that among these ruins I might wreck my own po- 
litical fortunes, and bring reproach upon my political 
friends, I thought it safer to set out in pursuit. A 
council was called at the base of an idol, at which Mr. 
C. and I were both present. It was resumed in Don 


eter. Before it, at a distance of eight feet ten inches, 
is an altar, partly buried, three feet three inches above 
the ground, seven feet square, and standing diagonally 
to the ^' idol." It is in high relief, boldly sculptured, 
and in a good state of preservation. 

The engravings which follow represent the front and 
back view. The front, from the absence of a beard 
and from the dress, we supposed to be the figure of a 
woman, and the countenance presents traits of individ- 
uality, leading to the supposition that it is a portrait. 

The back is a different subject. The head is in the 
centre, with complicated ornaments over it, the face 
broken, the border gracefully disposed, and at the foot 
are tablets of hieroglyphics. The altar is introduced 
on one side, and consists of four large heads strangely 
grouped together, so as not to be easily made out. It 
could not be introduced in* its proper place without 
hiding the lower part of the ^^ idol." In dravnng the 
front, Mr. Catherwood always stood between the altar 
and the " idol." 

¥ -i*:-. 





I ' 

1 'l I 




li? "p 


. *< - 



A little behind this is the monument marked T. It 
w one of the most beautiful in Copan, and in work- 
manship is equal to the finest Egyptian sculpture. 
Indeed, it would be impossible, with the best instru- 
ments of modern' times, to cut stones more perfectly. 
It stands at the foot of a wall of steps, with only the 
head and part of the breast rising above the earth. 
The rest is buried, and probably as perfect as the por- 
tion which is now visible. When we first discovered 
it, it was buried up to the eyes. Arrested by the beau- 
ty of the sculpture, and by its solemn and mournful 
position, we commenced excavating. As the ground 
was level up to that mark, the excavation was made 
by loosening the earth with the machete, and scoop- 
ing it out with the hands. As we proceeded, the earth 
formed a wall around and increased the labour. The 
Indians struck so carelessly with their machetes, that, 
afraid to let them work near the stone, we cleared it 
with our own hands. It was impossible, however, 
to continue ; the earth was matted together by roots 
which entwined and bound the monument. It requi- 
red a complete throwing out of the earth for ten or 
twelve feet around ; and without any proper instru- 
ments, and afraid of injuring the sculpture, we prefer- 
red to let it remain, to be excavated by ourselves at 
some future time or by some future traveller. Who- 
ever he may be, I almost envy him the satisfaction of 
doing it. The outline of the trees growing around it 
is given in the engraving. 


Toward the south, at a distance of fifty feet| is a 
mass of fallen sculpture, with an altar, marked R on 
the map; and at ninety feet distance is the statue 
marked Q, standing with its front to the east, twelTe 
feet high and three feet square, on te ohlong pedestal 
seven feet in front and six feet two inches on the sides. 
Before it, at a distance of eight feet three inches, is an 
altar five feet eight inches long, three feet eight inches 
broad, and four feet high. 

The face of this '' idol" is decidedly that of a man. 
The beard is of a curious fashion, and joined to the 
mustache and hair. The ears are large, though not 
resembling nature ; the expression is grand, the mouth 
partly open, and the eyeballs seem starting from the 
sockets ; the intention of the sculptor seems to have 
been to excite terror. The feet are ornamented with 
sandals, probably of the skins of some wild animals, in 
the fashion of that day. 

The back of this monument contrasts remarkably 
with the horrible portrait in front. It has nothing gro* 
tesque or pertaining to the rude conceits of Indians, but 
is noticeable for its extreme grace and beauty. In our 
daily walks we often stopped to gaze at it, and the more 
we gazed the more it grew upon us. Others seemed 
intended to inspire terror, and, with their altars before 
them, sometimes suggested the idea of a blind, bigoted, 
and superstitidis people, and sacrifices of human vic- 
tims. This always left a pleasing impression ; and there 
was a higher interest, for we considered that in its me- 
dallion tablets the people who reared it had published 
a record of themselves, through which we might one 
day hold conference with a perished race, and unveil 
the mystery that hung over the city. 


1.^,^ - 



^WfeE^^t^A '-'■? 

■•J. . 

y ■"■ ■■•-•».- "s-.i. 

1.-- .» 

' .' 

."^■■*-i-, -• 

■■.. r>"i.- 

-•. -i 

** • ■ 

■ f 

5 ."»■ 


had been rejected by the workmen after they were 
quarried out. The back of this monument had con- 
tained two. Between the second and third tablets the 
flint has been picked out, and the sculpture is blurred ; 
the other, in the last row but one firom the bottomi re- 
mains untouched. An inference from this is, that the 
sculptor had no instruments with which he could cut 
so hard a stone, and, consequently, that iron was un- 
known. We had, of course, directed our searches and 
inquiries particularly to this point, but did not find any 
pieces of iron or other metal, nor could we hear of any 
having ever been found there. Don Miguel had a col- 
lection of chay or flint stones, cut in the shape of ar- 
row-heads, which he thought, and Don Miguel was no 
fool, were the instruments employed. - They were suf- 
ficiently hard to scratch into the stone. Perhaps by 
men accustomed to the use of them, the whole of th^se 
deep relief ornaments might have been scratchedi but 
the chay stones themselves looked as if they had been 
cnit by metal. 

The engraving opposite represents the altar as it 
stands before the last monument. It is seven feet 
square and four feet high, richly sculptured on all its 
sides. The front represents a death's head. The top 
is sculptured, and contains grooves, perhaps for the 
passage of the blood of victims, animal or human, oflbr- 
ed in sacrifice. The trees in the engraving give an 
idea of the forest in which these monuments are buried. 

«»CJS«»V* D# T#U* 

I -*Kf' 




AlI the distance of one hundred and twenty feet north 

ttie tnonuxnent marked O, which, unhappily, is fallen 

^Bd broken. In sculpture it is the same with the beau- 

-flfui balf-buried monument before given, and, I repeat 

^ ia iTvorkmanship equal to the best remains of Egyp- 

^an art. The fiedlen part was completely bound to the 

earth by vines and creepers, and before it could be 

drawn it was necessary to unlace them, and tear the 

fibres out of the crevices. The paint is very perfect, 

and has preserved the stone, which makes it more to 

be regretted that it is broken. The altar is buried, 

with the tqp barely visible, which, by excavating, we 

made out to represent the back of a tortoise. 


The next engravings exhibit the firont, back, and one 
of the sides of monument N, distant twenty feet from 
the last. It is twelve feet high, four feet on one side, 
three feet four inches on the other, and stands on a ped- 
estal seven feet square, with its firont to the west. 
There is no altar visible; probably it is broken and 
buried. The front view seemls a portrait, probably of 
some deified king or hero. The two ornaments at the 
top appear like the trunk of an elephant, an animal un- 
known in that country. The crocodile's head is seven 
feet from it, but appears to have no connexion with it. 
This is four feet out of the ground, and is given in the 
plate as one of the many fragments found among the 

The back presents an entirely different subject from 
the front. At the top is a figure sitting cross-legged, 
almost buried under an enormous headdress, and three 
of the compartments contain tablets of hieroglyphics. 

Not to multiply engravings, I have omitted side 
views, as they are, in general, less interesting. This is 
particularly beautiful. The tablets of hieroglyphics are 
very distinct. 

*« * 






i ' 



The next three engravings are the front, back, and 
side view of the monument marked L, distant seventy- 
two feet north from the last, with its front toward the 
west, twelve feet high, three feet in front, two feet eight 
inches on the side, and the pedestal is six feet square. 
Before it, at a distance of eleven feet, is an altar very- 
much defaced, and buried in the earth. 

The front view is a portrait. The back is entirely 
made up of hieroglyphics, and each tablet has two 
hieroglyphics joined together, an arrangement which 
afterward we observed occasionally at Palenque. The 
side presents a single row of hieroglyphics, joined in 
the same manner. The tablets probably contain the 
history of the king or hero delineated, and the particu- 
lar circumstances or actions which constituted his great- 

I have now given engravings of all the most interest- 
ing monuments of Copan, and I repeat, they are accu- 
rate and faithful representations. I have purposely ab- 
stained from all comment. If the reader can derive 
from them but a small portion of the interest that we 
did, he will be repaid for whatever he may find unprof- 
itable in these pages. ^ 

Of the moral effect of the monuments themselves, 
standing as they do in the depths of a tropical forest, si- 
lent and solemn, strange in design, excellent in sculp- 
ture, rich in ornament, different from the works of any 
other people, their uses and purposes, their whole histo- 
ry so entirely unknown, with hieroglyphics explaining 
all, but perfectly unintelligible, I shall not pretend to 
convey any idea. Often the imagination was pained in 
gazing at them. The tone which pervades the ruins is 
that of deep solemnity. An imaginative mind might 


on its monument s. No ChampoUion has yet brought 
to them tbe energies of his inquiring mind. Who shall 
read them ? 

**Chaot of rains! who shall trace the Toid, 
O'er the dim fragments cast a lunar light. 
And say 'here wa» or is,' where all is doablj vi^t^ 

In conclusion, I will barely remarki that if this is the 
place referred to by the Spanish historian as conquered 
by Hernando de Chaves, which I almost doubt, at that 
time its broken monuments, terraces, pyramidal struc- 
tures, portals, walls, and sculptured figures were entire, 
and all were painted ; the Spanish soldiers must have 
gazed at them with astonishment and wonder ; and it 
seems strange that a European army could have en- 
tered it without spreading its fame through official re« 
ports of generals and exaggerated stories of soldiers. 
At least, no European army could enter such a city now 
without this result following; but the silence of theX 
Spaniards may be accounted for by the &ct that these t 
conquerors of America were illiterate and ignorant ad- j 
venturers, eager in pursuit of gold, and blind to every- J 
thing else ; or, if reports were made, the Spanish gov- I 
ernment, with a jealous policy observed down to the 1 
last moment of her dominion, suppressed everything I 
that might attract the attention of rival nations to he^ 
American possessions. 


generaUy, by my handsome conduct in not goiag off 
without paying.* 

My good understanding with the muleteer was of 
short duration. At parting, Mr. C. and I had divided 
our stock of plates, knives and forks, spoons, &c«, and 
Augustin had put my share in the basket which had 
carried the whole, and these, being loose, made such a 
clattering that it frightened the mule. The beast ran 
away, setting us all off together with a crashing noise, 
till she threw herself among the bushes. We ,had a 
scene of terrible confusion, and I escaped as fast as I 
could from the hoarse and croaking curses of the mule- 

For some distance the road lay along the rirer. The 
^Copan has no storied associations, but the GaadalqaiT- 
er cannot be more beautiful. On each side were moimU 
ains, and at every turn a new view. We crossed a 
high range, and at four o'clock again came down iq>OD 
the river, which was here the boundary-line of the State 
of Honduras. It was broad and rapid, deep, and brcK 
ken by banks of sand and gravel. Fording it, I again 
entered the State of Guatimala. There was no vil* 
lage, not even a house in sight, and no difficulty about 
passport. Late in the afternoon, ascending a little em- 
inence, I saw a large field with stone fences, and bars, 
and cattle-yard, that looked like a Westchester fisurm. 
We entered a gate, and rode up through a fine park to 
a long, low, substantial-looking hacienda. It was the 
house of Don Clementine, whom I knew to be the kins- 
man of Don Gregorio, and the one of all others I would 

♦ On Mr. Catherwood's second visit, finding the rancho of Don Miguel desert- 
ed, he rode to Don Gregorio's. The don had in the mean time been to Eeqai- 
pulas, and learned our character from the cura ; and it is due to him to say, that Km 
received Mr. C. kindly, and made many inquiries after me. The rest of the fam- 
ily were as cordial as before. 


country in riding. My admiration was called forth by 
the sister of Don Clementino and the happy young gal- 
lant who escorted her. Both rode the same mule and 
on the same saddle. She sat sidewise before him ; his 
right arm encircled her waist ; at starting, the mule was 
restiff, and he was obliged, from necessity, to support 
her in her seat, to draw her close to himself; her ear 
invited a whisper ; and when she turned her face to- 
ward him her lips almost touched his. I would have 
given all the honours of diplomacy for his place. 

Don Clementino was too much of a coxcomb to set 
off in this way ; he had a fine mule gayly caparisoned, 
swung a large basket-hilted sword through a strap in 
the saddle, buckled on a pair of enormous spurs, and, 
mounting, wound his poncha around his waist, so that 
the hilt of the sword appeared about six inches above it ; 
giving the animal a sharp thrust with his spurs, he drove 
her up the steps, through the piazza, and down the other 
side, and asked me if I wanted to buy her. I declined ; 
and, to my great satisfaction, he started to overtake the 
others, and left me alone with his mother, a respecta- 
ble-looking, gray-haired old lady, who called together 
aU the servants and Indian children for vesper prayers. 
I am sorry to say it, but for the first time I was remind- 
ed that it was Sunday. I stood in the door, and it was 
interesting to see them all kneeling before the figure of 
the Virgin. An old gray-nosed mule walked up the 
piazza, and, stopping by my side, put his head in the 
door, when, more forward than I, he walked in, gazed 
a moment at the figure of the Virgin, and, without dis- 
turbing anybody, walked out again. 

Soon after I was called in to supper, which consisted 
of fried beans, fried eggs, and tortillas. The beans and 
eggs were served on heavy silver dishes, and the tortil- 


las Were laid in & pile by my side. There was no plate, 
knife, fork, or epooa. Fingers were made before forks ; 
but bad habits make the latter, to a certain degree, ne- 
oeasary. Poultry, mutton, beef, and the like, do not 
c<Hne amiflB to fingers, but beans and fried eggs were 
puzzling. How I managed I will not publish ; but, 
from appearances afterward, the old lady could not have 
supposed that I had been at all at a loss. I slept in an 
outbuilding constructed of small poles and thatched, 
and for the whole paid eighteen and three quarter cents. 
I gave a pair of earrings to a woman whom I supposed 
to be a servant, but who, I found, was only a visiter, 
and who went away at the same time that I did. 

At a distance of two leagues from the hacienda we 
passed the house of the wedding-patty. The dancing 
was not yet over, and I had a strong fancy to see again 
the fair-haired sister of Don Clementino. Having no 
bettcar excuse, I determined to call him out and " talk 
mule." As I rode i^, the doorway and the space 
thence to the middle of the room were filled with giils, 
all dressed in white, with the roses in their hair fiuled, 
and the brightness of their eyes somewhat dimmed bf 
a night's dissipation. The sister of Don Clementino 
was modest and retiring, and, as if she suspected my 
object, shrank back from observation, while he made 
all open a way for him and his guitar. I had no idea 
of baying his mule, but made him an offer, which, to 
my surprise and regret at the time, he accepted ; but 
virtue is its own reward, and the mule proved a most 
bithful animal.' 

Mounted on my new purchase, we commenced as- 
cending the great Sierra, which divides the streams of the 
Atlantic from those that empty into the Pacific Ocean. 
The ascent was rugged and toilsome, but in two hour? 


"' *w 

we reached the top. The scenery was wild and gifiM^ 
I have no doubt ; but the fact is, it rained very hard all 
the time ; and while I was floundering among mud- 
holes I would have given the chance of the sublime for 
a good Macadamized road. Mr. Catherwoodi who 
crossed on a clear day, says that the view from the topj 
both ways, was the most magnificent he saw in the 
country. Descending, the clouds were lifted, and I 
looked down upon an almost boundless plain, running 
from the foot of the Sierra, and afrur o£f saw, standing 
alone in the wilderness, the great church of Esquipulas, 
like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, 
and the Caaba in Mecca, the holiest of temples. My 
muleteer was very anxious to stop at a collection of 
huts on this side of the town, and told me first that the 
place was occupied by Carrera's soldiers, and then that 
he was ill. I had a long and magnificent descent to 
the foot of the Sierra. The plain reminded me of the 
gr^at waste-places of Turkey and Asia Minor, but was 
more beautiful, being bounded by immense mountains. 
For three hours the church was our guide. As we ap- 
t>roached, it stood out more clearly defined against 
mountains whose tops were buried in the clouds. 

Late in the afternoon we entered the town and rode 
up to the convent. I was a little nervous, and pre- 
sented my passport as a letter of introduction; but 
could I have doubted the hospitality of a padre ? Don 
Gregorio's reception made me feel more deeply the 
welcome of the cura of Esquipulas. None can know 
the value of hospitality but those who have felt the want 
of it, and they can never forget the welcome of stran- 
gers in a strange land. 

The whole household of the cura turned out to assist, 
and in a few minutes the mules were munching corn in 

CUEA OF B8QUIPlri.AB. 187 

the yard, while I was installed in the seat of honour in 
the convent* It was by far the largest and best build- 
ing in the place. The walls were three or four feet 
thick ; a large portico extended in front ; the entrance 
was by a wide hall, used as a sleeping-place for ser- 
vants, and communicating with a courtyard in the rear ; 
on the left was a large sala or reception-room, with 
lofty windows and deep recesses ; on one side of the 
wall was a long wooden settee, with a high back, and 
arms at each end ; before it was a massive unpolished 
mahogany table, and above hung a painting of our Sav- 
iour ; against the wall were large antiquated chairs, the 
backs and seats covered with leather, and studded with 
nails having large brass heads. 

The cura was a young man, under thirty, of delicate 
frame, and his face beamed with iatelligence and re- 
finement of thought and feeling. He was dressed in a 
long black bombazet gown, drawn tight around the 
body, with a blue border around the neck, and a cross 
was suspended to his rosary. His name was Jesus Ma- 
ria Guttierrez. It was the first time I had ever heard 
that name applied to a human being, and even in him 
it seemed a profanation. 

On a visit to him, and breaking the monotony of his 
secluded life, was an old schoolfellow and friend. Col* 
onel San Martin, of Honduras, who had been wounded 
in the last battle against Morazan, and was staying at 
the convent to recover his health and strength. His 
case showed the distracted state of the coimtry. His 
father was of the same politics with himself, and his 
brother was fighting on the other side in the battle in 
which he was wounded. 

They gave me disagreeable information in regard to 
my road to Guatimala. Carrera's troops had fallen 


back from the frontiers of San Salvadctf i and ooeupied 
the whole line of villages to the capital. They were 
mostly Indians, ignorant, intemperate, and fanatic, who 
conld not comprehend my official character, coold not 
read my passport, and, in the excited state of the comi- 
try, would suspect me as a stranger. They had al- 
ready committed great atrocities ; there was not a cu- 
rate on the whole road ; and to attempt traversing it 
would be to expose myself to robbery and nmrder. I 
was very loth to protract my journey, but it would have 
been madness to proceed ; in fact, no muleteer would 
undertake to go on with me, and I was obliged to turn 
my eyes to Chiquimula and the road I had left. The 
cura said I must be guided by him. I put myself in his 
hands, and at a late hour lay down to' rest with the 
strange consciousness of being a welcome guest. 

I was awaked by the sound of the martin bell, and ac- 
companied the cura to mass. The church for every- 
day use was directly opposite the convent, spacious and 
gloomy, and the floor was paved with lurge square 
bricks or tiles. Rows of Indian women were kneeling . 

around the altar, cleanly dressed, with white mantillas I 

over their heads, but without shoes or stockings. A 
few men stood up behind or leaned against the walls. 

We returned to breakfast, and afterward set out to 
visit the only object of interest, the great church of 
the pilgrimage, the Holy Place of Central America. 
Every year, on the fifteenth of January, pilgrims visit 
it, even from Peru and Mexico ; the latter being a jour- 
ney not exceeded in hardship by the pilgrimage to Mec- 
ca. As in the East, << it is not forbidden to trade du- 
ring the pilgrimage ;" and when there are no wars to 
make the roads unsafe, eighty thousand people have as- 


pulpit was covered with gold leaf, and the altar protected 
by an iron railing with a silver balustrade, ornamented 
with six silver pillars about twp feet high, and two an- 
{[els standing as guardians on the steps. In front of the 
altar, in a rich shrine, is an image of the Saviour on the 
cross, '^ our Lord of Esquipulas," to whom the church 
is consecrated, famed for its power of working mira- 
cles. Every year thousands of devotees ascend the 
steps of his temple on their knees, or laden with a 
heavy cross, who are not permitted to touch the sacred 
image, but go away contented in obtaining a piece of 
riband stamped with the words ^' Dulce nombre de Je- 

We returned to the convent, and while I was sit- 
ting with Colonel San Martin the curate entered, and, 
closing the door, asked me if my servant was fedthful. 
Augustin's face was an unfortunate letter of recom- 
mendation. Colonel McDonald, Don Francisco, and, 
as I afterward heard. General Cascara, distrusted him. 
I told the cura all I knew of him, and mentioned his 
conduct at Comotan ; but he still cautioned me to be- 
ware of him. Sbon after, Augustin, who seemed to 
suspect that he had not made a very favourable impres- 
sion, asked me for a dollar to pay for a confession. My 
intelligent friend was not free from the prejudices of 
education ; and though he could not at once change his 
opinion so warmly expressed, he said that Augustin had 
been well brought up. 

In the course of the day I had an opportunity of see- 
ing what I afterward observed throughout all Central 
America : the life of labour and responsibility passed 
by the cura in an Indian village, who devotes himself 
faithfully to the people under his charge. Besides offi- 
ciating in all the services of the church, visiting the 


told me to feel his pulse. It was slow and feeble, and 
aeemed as if every beat would be the last ; but he said 
it was always so ; and, rising suddenly, added that this 
was the hour of his private devotions, and retired to 
his room. I felt as if a good spirit had flitted away. 

My anxiety to reach Ouatimala would not permit me 
long to enjoy the cura's hospitality. I intended to dia» 
charge my muleteer ; but, unable to replace him imme-' 
diately, and unwilling to lose another day, I was obliged 
to retain him. The usual course was to leave Esqui- 
pnlas in the afternoon, and ride four leagues ; but, hav- 
ing seven mules and only four cargoes, I determined to 
make these four leagues and the next day's journey also 
in one. Early in the morning I started. .When I bade 
fturewell, the priest and the soldier stood side by side, 
pictures of Christian humility and man's pride, and both 
recommended me to God at parting. 

We crossed the plain ; the mountains of Esquipulas 
; aeemed to have gained in grandeur ; in half an hour 
j commenced ascending the Mountain of Queialtepeque, 
^ thickly wooded, and, like that of Mico, muddy and full 
/ of gullies and deep holes. Heavy clouds were hang- 
ing over it, and as we ascended it rained hard ; but be- 
fore reaching the top the clouds were lifted, the sun 
shone, and the plain of Esquipulas, with the great 
Sierra behind, covered with lofty pines, and clouds 
chasing each other over its sides, all blended together, 
made one of the grandest spectacles I ever beheld ; and 
the great church still presented itself for the farewell 
view of the pilgrim. But the gleam of sunshine did not 
last long, and again the rain poured ; for a while I had 
great satisfaction in seeing the muleteer drenched and 
hearing him grumble ; but an unaccountable fit of good- 
humour came over me, and I lent him my bear's 



The Tillage consisted of a miserable coUectioii of huts ; 
before the door of the best was a crowd of people, who 
did not ask us to stop, and we rode np to one of the 
poorest. All we wanted was sacate* for the mules. 
The stores of the padre were abundant for me, and the 
deaf and dumb lad cut a few ribs from the side of the 
ox, and prepared supper for himself and the muleteer. 

While supping we heard a voice of lamentation from 
the house before which the crowd was assembled. Af- 
ter dark I walked over, and found that they were mourn- 
ing over the dead. Inside were several women ; one 
was wringing her hands, and the first words I distin- 
guished were, <' Oh, our Lord of Esquipulas, why have 
you taken him away ?" She was interrupted by the 
tramp of horses^ hoofs, and a man rode up, whose figure 
in the dark I could not see, but who, without dismount- 
ing, in a hoarse voice said that the priest asked six dol- 
lars to bury the corpse. One of the crowd cried out, 
'^ Shame ! shame !" and others said they would bury it 
in el campo, the field. The horseman, in the same 
hoarse voice, said that it was the same if buried in the 
road, the mountain, or the river, the priest must have 
his fee. There was a great outcry ; but the widow, in a 
weeping tone, declared that the money must be paid, 
and then renewed her exclamations : " My only help, 
my consolation, my head, my heart ; you who was so 
strong, who could lift a ceroon of indigo :" " you said 
you would go and buy cattle ;" ''I said, ' yes ; bring me 
fine linen and jewelry.' " The words, and the piercing 
tone of distress, reminded me of a similar scene I had 
once beheld on the banks of the Nile. By invitation 
of one of the friends I entered the house. The corpse 

* Sacate means any kind of grass or leaves for mules. The best is sscate 
ce maize, or the stalks and leaves of Indian com. 


character" should come to this! The woman was 
sleepless ; a dozen times she came out to smoke a cigar 
or to drive away the hogs ; and her harsh voice, and 
the screams from the house of mourning, made me re- 
joice when the cocks crew for morning. 


Aa akdda Mid tint he wir • bmA cvawliag M Ip 
hmiiff and feet up the tide <rf tke nwwetaHi j . end, 
MfeAing my dooble-banrelled gaOf fired el Uni ee 
eeolly ee he would have done et a woodowk ; all aea;^ 
land IB poreaity and I waa left irith AtigiHtw end the 
deaf and dumb boy. . . 

. Mofingon, butnotTeryfiart|aBdkiddag,liBdc: 
iaonaUy to the diatant li^ti in the Tillagei wittaii 
kaown moontain before me and a daork Bights i.hegan 
totlBBk that it waa about enoii|^ lor mat^fclid ngft 
aalf when attacked; althou^^ theafiair waagol 19 oa 
my aeeomity it waa atraining a point far me la paaa the 
night in helping to rid the town of ^ lohlMni NeslI 
reflected that, if the gentlemeB w^:were ia.pBianit:of 
ahooU taJjfi it «i|to their heada uf^aakim^ aBq^.da|>:aBd 
white drera made me oonapioaoai( fnd it might ka Bwk* 
ward to meet them at this plaoflf^ and^ iH cader.lo gaia 
time for oonaideration wbai it waa biatladdo^jl walked 
back toward the town, and had not hlifvmiimafrioj 
mind when I reached the plaaa. 

Here I stoiqmly and in a fewminataajMBW pawedy 
who aaid that he had met two of lhi» taUwa OA the 
Budn road| and that they had told him thij-woidd catch 
me in the morning. They had got it falo tbipr heada 
that I waa an aiddeoamp of Carr«rai:raliirmng fi?om 
Baliae with a large amount of money to pity the troope. 
In about an hour the alcalde and hiapoaae ecnitatua 
returned. I had no idea of being robbed by miatake ; 
and, knowing the facility with wluch the robben might 
go ahead and take a long shot at me, I asked the al- 
calde to furnish me with two men to go in advance and 
keep a lookout ; but I was heartily sick of the country 
and the excitement of its petty alarms. 

Daylight dispelled the gloom which night had cast 


BS white, and trodden hard hj caravans of 
We descended to the village, and crossed the 
which was laid on a stone arch, thrown across 
e with a cataract foaming through it ; at this 
re were completely encircled by mountains, wild 
iimity, and reminding me of some of the finest 
of Switzerland. On the other side of the bridge 
ommenced ascending another mountain. The 
was winding, and, when very high up, the view of 
tillage and bridge at the immense distance below 
surpassingly fine. Descending a short distance, 
passed a village of huts, situated on the ridge of the 
jntain, commanding on both sides a view of an ex- 
sive valley four or five thousand feet below us. 
>ntinuing on this magnificent ridge, we descended* * 
K)n a table of rich land, and saw a gate opening into 
ounds which reminded me of park scenery in Eng- j 

nd, undulating, and ornamented with trees. In the 1 

idst of this stood the hacienda of San Jose, a long, 
w stone building, with a corridor in front ; it was one 
those situations which, when least expected, touch a 
nder chord, call up cherished associations, make a 
iveller feel as though he could linger around it for- 
er, and particularly welcome to us, as we had not 

It was a hacienda de ganados, or cattle-hacienda, 
d had hundreds of cattle roaming over it ; but all 
At it could give us to eat was eggs, tortillas, and 
ans softened in hot water ; the last being about equal 
a basket of fresh chips. This over, we made a last 
sh for Guatlmala. The road lay over a table of land, 
een and rich as a European lawn, ornamented with 
!es, and with features of scenery peculiarly English; 
ileteers who had left the city at midnight, and had al- 


tured out at night, and Mr. Hall wondered how I had 
been able to wander through the streets without being 
molested. All this was not very agreeable, but it could 
not destroy my satisfaction in reaching Guatimala. 
F6r the first time since I entered the country, I had a 
good bed and a pair of clean sheets. It was two 
months that day since I embarked from New-York, and 
only one since I entered the countryi but it seemed at 
least a year. 

The luxury of my rest that night still lingers in my 
recollections, and the morning air was the most pure 
and invigorating I ever breathed. Situated in the " Ti- 
erras templadas," or temperate regions, on a table-land 
five thousand feet above the sea, the climate of Guati- 
mala is that of perpetual spring, and the general aspect 
reminded me of the best class of Italian cities. It is 
laid out in blocks of from three to four hundred feet 
square, the streets parallel and crossing each other at 
right angles. The houses, made to resist the action of 
earthquakes, are of only one story, but very spacious, 
with large doors and windows, protected by iron bal- 
conies. In the centre of the city stands the Plaza, a 
square of one hundred and fifty yards on each side, paved 
with stone, with a colonnade on three sides ; on one of 
these stands the old vice-regal palace and hall of the 
Audiencia ; on another are the cabildo and other city 
buildings; on the third the custom-house and palace 
of the ci-devant Marquisate of Aycinena ; and on the 
fourth side is the Cathedral, a beautiful edifice, in the 
best style of modern architecture, with the archiepisco- 
pal palace on one side, and the College de Infantes on 
the other. In the centre is a large stone fountain, of 
imposing workmanship, supplied with pipes from the 
mountains about two leagues distant ; and the area is 

194 . IltOIDBIITt or TKA.TBL. 

dlning-romi, which had a door uid'.tW9 windom opeur 
wt^wpoa the corridor. At the end df the diniDg^QOip. 
was a- door leading to a sleeping-roooii with door and 
one window, and then another room of the lane use, 
, all widi doors and windows opening iqion the otnridor. 
The building and conidor were oontinQed aaoaa the 
fint of the lot; in the centre were rooms for servants, 
•ad in die emners ware a kitchen and stable, com- 
pletely hidden from ngfat, and eaoh furnished vrith a 
■eparate fountain. This is the plan of all the houses in 
Chiatimala; others are muoh buger ; that of the Ayci- 
nena family, for instance, covered a square of two hun- 
t dred feet ; but mine combined mare beauty and com- 
last than ai^ habitatioo I ever saw. 

At two o'dook my Inggage arrived, and I tvas most 
•V ^eomfotftably installed in my new domicil. The sala or 
.^4L.^taoeption-n»m was furnished with a large bookcase, 
' aontaining rows of books with yellow bindings, which 
gaTS me twinging reooUeetions of a law -office at home ; 
the erchives of the legation had quite an imposing as- 
pect ; and ora Mr. De Witt's writing-table hung an- 
other memorial of home : a bo-sLmile of the Declaration 
of fiidependeoce. 

My &ist busineaa was to make arrangameots for aend- 
iog a trusty escort for Mr. Catherwood, and, thia orer, 
it was incnrabent opon me to look aroinid for tlw gov- 
ernment to which I was accredited. 

From the time of the conqoest Ooatimala had re- 
mained in a state of. ]HY>foand tranqnilli^ aa a oolcmy 
of Spain. The Indians submitted quietly to die aothor- 
ity of the whites, and all bowed to the divine right of 
the Romish Church. In the beginning of the present 
century a few scattering rays of light penetrated to the 
heart of the American Continent * and in 1833 the 

■• "■*. 


Church, and, in the first enthusiasm of emancipated 
minds, tore away at once the black mantle of supersti- 
tion, thrown, like a funeral pall^ over the genius of the 
people. The Ce&traiists wished to preserve the usages 
of the colonial syBtem, and resisted every innovation and 
every attack, direct or indirect, upon the privileges of 
the Church, and their own prejudices or interests. The 
Liberals, ardent, and cherishing brilliant schemes of 
reform, aimed at an instantaneous change in popular 
feelings and customs, and considered every moment 
lost that did not establish some new theory or sweep 
away some old abuse. The Centralists forgot that civ* 
ilization is a jealous divinity, which does not admit of 
partition, and cannot remain stationary. The Liberals 
forgot that civilization requires a harmony of intelli- 
gence, of customs, and of laws. The example of the 
^ United States and of their free institutions was held up 
by the Liberals ; and the Centralists contended that, 
with their ignorant and heterogeneous population, scat- 
tered over a vast territory, without facilities of commu- 
nication, it was a hallucination to take our country as a 
model. At the third session of Congress the parties 
came to an open rupture, and the deputies of San Salv 
vador, always the most Liberal state in the confedera- 
cy, withdrew. 

Flores, the vice-chief of the State of Guatimala, a 
Liberal, had made himself odious to the priests and fri- 
ars by laying a contribution upon the convent at Quez- 
altenango ; and while on a visit to that place the fri- 
ars of the convent excited the populace against him, as 
an enemy to religion. A mob gathered before his house, 
with cries of " Death to the heretic !" Flores fled to 
the church ; but as he was entering the door a mob of 
women seized him, wrested a stick from his hands, beat 

iirci»sirTt or T»AV#ft. . ; . , - 

■riigjkliii Cuntidflm swept tlie mith^mii tjujihiwl 
IMrij WM erathed in Oiiatuiiala. .-. hVr ^y-.r 

< 'But the 8tal0 4d San Sahedor, fiNim the hpniimg 
tile leader in Liberal princqdeey wee promyl in il» eCp 
tele of irengeanoe, and <m the eiztaeiith cC Manhy IfltRfy 
ile emqr tppeeied within the niilia ftaiej iif flieiliiw.' 
ky threatening die deetnuition of the eepitalf.lNgil ifoltf 
gioneiaai^oiam was too strong; the pciertsnn thso^gpi 
Am stieela exhorting the people to tdce t^anM» the 
firiars headed mobs of woUmbi wfaO| with dtnm bkiveay 
swoire destmetiDn to ell who attempted la OfestiHii 
their religioni and the Sen SalirBdonana wwe deCeat- 
ad and driTen book. For two yeexs the pefliee were 
at open war. In 1839 the tioope of San Sdvnderi as* 
der Gkmend Moraaani who had now beeome the head 
of the Lfteral partji again marched Upon ChMinialny 
and, after three days' fightingi enteied* triaroph> 
All the leaders of the Central party, ikm Mfmmaamf 
the PftTons, ai^ PeBoles, were banishid tt fled, the 
eonrents were broken np, the institotioQ of Mmes diol- 
ishedi the friars themseWes pat on boasA %asada and 
shipped cot of the conntry, and the arbhbishop, antioU 
pating banishment, or perii^is iMoring a wmse firte, 
aooght safety in flight. 

In 1831 General lioranan was eleoled peeaident of 
the repablio ; at the expiration of the lenn he waa re* 
elected ; and for eight years the Libeord psffty had the 
complete ascendancy. Daring the latter part of his 
term, howeyer, there was great discontent, partieidtely 
on account of forced loans and exactions for the sqK 
port of government, or, as the Centralists said, to grat- 
ify the rapacity of miscrupulous and profligate office- 
h(dder8. The Church party was always on the alert. 
The exiles in the United States and Mexico, and on the 


Onra was the only government that had any treaty 
Central America, and, up to the time of Mr. De Witt's 
departure from the country, we were represented by a 
charg6 d'affaires. The British consul-general had pub- 
lished a circular denying the existence of the general 
government ; the French consul was not on good 
terras with either party ; and my arrival, and the course 
I might take, were a subject of some interest to poli- 

There was but one side to politics in Ouatumala. 
Both parties have a beautiful way of producing unanim- 
ity of opinion, by driving out of the country all who do 
not agree with them. If there were any Liberals, I did 
not meet them, or they did not dare to open their lips. 
The Central party, only six months in power, and still 
surprised at being there, was fluttering between arro- 
gance and fear. The old families, whose principal 
members had been banished or politically ostracised, 
and the clergy, were elated at the expulsion of the 
Liberal party, and their return to what they considered 
their natural right to rule the state ; they talked of re- 
calling the banished archbishop and friars, restoring the 
privileges of the Church, repairing the convents, revi^ 
ving monastic institutions, and making Guatimala what) 
it had once been, the jewel of Spanish America. 

One of my first visits of ceremony was to Sefior Ri- 
vera Paz, the chief of the state. I was presented by 
Mr. Henry Savage, who had formerly acted as United 
States consul at Guatimala, and was the only Ameri- 
can resident, to whom I am under many obligations for 
his constant attentions. The State of Guatimala, hav- 
ing declared its independence of the Federal govern- 
ment, was at that time governed by a temporary body 
called a Constituent Assembly. On the last entry of 


large obairi two secretaries at a table beneathi and on 
the wall were the arms of the republic, the groundwork 
of which was three volcanoes, emblematic, I suppose, 
of the combustible state of the country. The deputies 
sat on each side, about thirty being present, nearly half 
of whom were priests, with black gowns and caps ; and 
by the dull light the scene carried me back to the dark 
ages, and seemed a meeting of inquisitors. 

The subject under discussion was a motion to revive 
the old law of tithes, which had been abolished by the 
Liberal party. The law was passed unanimously ; but 
there was a discussion upon a motion to appropriate a 
small part of the proceeds for the support of hospitals 
for the poor. The priests took part in the discussion, 
and with liberal sentiments ; a lay member, with big 
black whiskers, opposed it, saying that the Church 
stood like a light in darkness ; and the Marquis Ayei- 
nena, a priest and the leading member of the party, 
said that '^ what was raised for God should be given 
to God alone." There was another discussion upon the 
point whether the law should operate upon cattle then 
in being or to be born thereafter ; and, finally, as to the 
means of enforcing it. One gendeman contended that 
coercive measures should not be used, and, with a fine 
burst of eloquence, said that reliance might be placed 
upon the religious feelings of the people, and that the 
poorest Indian would come forward and contribute his 
mite ; but the Assembly decided that the law should be 
enforced by Las leyes antiguas de los Espagnoles, the 
old laws of the Spaniards, the severities of which had 
been one of the great causes of revolution in all Span- 
ish countries. There was something horrible in this 
retrograde legislation. I could hardly realize that, in 
the nineteenth century, men of sense, and in a country 



honselmping for perhaps but a few weeks, I dined and 
supped at the house of the seiiora, an interesting young 
widow who owned mine (her husband had been shot in 
a private revolution of his own getting up), and lived 
nearly opposite. The first evening I remained there till 
nine o'clock ; but as I was crossing on my return home a 
fierce " Quien vive ?" ** who goes ?" came booming up 
the street. In the dark I could not see the sentinel, and 
did not know the password. Fortunately, and what 
was very unusual, he repeated the challenge two or 
three times, but so fiercely that the tones of his voice 
went through me like a musket-ball, and probably in a 
moment more the ball itself would have followed, but 
an old lady rushed out of the house I had left, and, 
with a lantern in her hand, screamed ^^ Patria Libra." 

Thou^ silent, I was not idle ; and when in a safe 
place thanked her from across the street, hugging close 
the inside of my doorway. Since Carrera's entry, he 
had placed sentinels to pr.eserve the peace of the city, 
which was very quiet before he came, and his peace- 
officers kept it in a constant state of alarm. These sen- 
tinels were Indians, ignorant, undisciplined, and inso- 
lent, and fond of firing their muskets. They were or- 
dered to challenge " Quien Vive ?" " Who goes ?" 
« Que gente ?" " What people ?" " Quel Regimento ?'* 
" What regiment ?" and then fire. One fellow had al- 
ready obeyed his orders literally, and, hurrying through 
the three questions, without waiting for answers, fired, 
and shot a woman. The answers were, '* Patria Li- 
bra," " Country free ;" " Paisfino," " Countryman ;" 
and " Paz," " Peace." 

This was a subject of annoyance all the time I was 
in Guatimala. The streets were not lighted ; and hear- 
ing the challenge, sometimes at the distance of a squarci 



HteiMida of Narengo.— Laioiny.— Diplomttie Ooncipoiidnce.— FonnulM.— 
F4te of La CoDcepdoD.— Taking the Black YeU. — ▲ ConntrjwomaiL— Re- 
nouncing the World. — Fireworks, &c.~Proceision in honoar of the YiigiiL— > 
Another Exhibition of Fireworka.— ▲ fiery BnU.— InsoleDt Soldiery. 

The nei!t day, in company with Mr. Savage, I rode 
to Narengo, a small hacienda of the Aycinena fanuly, 
about seven miles from the city. Beyond the walls all 
was beautiful, and in the palmy days of Guatimala the 
Aycinenas rolled to the Narengo in an enormous car- 
riage, full of carving and gilding, in the style of the 
grandees of Spain, which now stands in the courtyard 
of the family-house as a memorial of better days. We 
entered by a large gate into a road upon their land, 
undulating and ornamented with trees, and by a large 
artificial lake, made by damming up several streams. 
We rode around the borders of the lake, and entered a 
large cattle-yard, in the centre of which, on the side of 
a declivity, stood the house, a strong stone structure, 
with a broad piazza in front, and commanding a beau- 
tiful view of the volcanoes of the Antigua. 

The hacienda was only valuable from its vicinity to 
Guatimala, being what would be called at home a 
country-seat ; and contained only seven thousand acres 
of land, about seventy mules, and seven hundred head 
of cattle. It was the season for marking and number- 
ing the cattle, and two of the Senores Aycinena were 
at the hacienda to superintend the operations. The 
cattle had been caught and brought in ; but, as I had 
never seen the process of lazoing, after dinner a hun« 



died head, which had been kept tip two days without 
food, were let loose into a field two or three miles in 
ciicumference. Eight men were mounted, with iron 
spurs an inch long on their naked heels, and each with 
a lazo in hand, which consisted of an entire cow's hide 
cut into a single cord about twenty yards long ; one 
end was fastened to the horse's tail, which was first 
wrapped in leaves to prevent its being lacerated, and 
the rest was wound into a coil, and held by the rider in 
his right hand, resting on the pommel of the saddle. 
The cattle had all dispersed ; we placed ourselves on an 
elevation commanding a partial view of the field, and 
the riders scattered in search of them. In a little while 
thirty or forty rushed past, followed by the riders at 
full speed, and very soon were out of sig^t. We must 
either lose the sport or follow ; and in one of the doub- 
lings, taking particularly good care to avoid the throng 
of furious cattle and headlong riders, I drew up to the 
side of two men who were chasing a single ox, and fol« 
lowed over hill, through bush, brush, and underwood ; 
one rider threw his lazo beautifully over the horns of 
the ox, and then turned bis horse, while the ox bound- 
ed to the length of the laso, and, without shaking horse 
or rider, pitched headlong to the ground. 

At this moment a herd swept by, with the whole com* 
pany in fiill pursuit. A large yellow ox separated from 
the rest, and all followed him. For a mile he kept 
ahead, doubled, and dodged, but the horsemen crowded 
him down toward the lake ; and, after an ineffectual at- 
tempt to bolt, he rushed into the water. Two horsemen 
followed and drove him out, and gave him a start, but 
in a few moments the lazo whizzed over his head, and, 
while horse and rider stood like marble, the ox again 
came with a plunge to the ground. The riders scat- 


cumstance to show the utter feebleness of the admin- 
istration, and the wretched condition of the country 
generally. It troubled me on one account} as it showed 
the difficulty and danger of prosecuting the travels I 
had contemplated. 

From the moment of my arrival I was struck with 
the devout character of the city of Ouatimala. At 
matins and vespers the churches were all open, and the 
people, particularly the women, went regularly to 
prayers. Every house had its figure of the Virgin, 
the Saviour, or some tutelary saint, and on the door 
were billets of paper with prayers. " La verdadera 
sangre de Cristo, nuestro redentor que solo represen- 
tada en Egipto libro a los Israelitas de un brazo fuerte 
y poderoso, libre nos de la peste, guerra, y muerte re- 
pentina. Amen.'^ *' The true blood of Christ our Re- 
deemer, which alone, exhibited in Egypt, freed the Is- 
raelites from a strong and powerful arm, deliver us from 
pestilence, war, and sudden death. Amen." 

^' O Maria, concebida sin pecado, rogad por noso- 
tros, que recurrimos a vos." " O Virgin, conceived 
without sin, pray for us, that we may have recourse to 

'< Ave Maria, gracia plena, y la santissima Trinidad 
nos favorezca." <' Hail Mary, full of grace, and may 
the Holy Spirit favour us." 

** El dolce nombre de Jerat, 
Sea con noeotros. Amen.** 

On the first Sunday after my arrival was celebrated 
the Ute of La Concepcion, a Ute always honoured in 
the observances of the Catholic Church, and this day 
more important from the circumstance that a probation- 
er in the convent of La Concepcion intended to take 
the black veil. At break of day the church bells rang 


had embraced a new faith ; and, with the enthnaiaam 
of a youthful convert, no lady in Guatimala was more 
devout, more regular at mass, or more strict in all the 
discipline of the Catholic Church than the Sister Su- 

After the fireworks there was a long ceremony at the 
altar, and then a general rush toward the other ex« 
tremity of the church. The convent was directly ad- 
joining, and in the partition wall, about six feet firom 
the floor, was a high iron grating, and about four feet 
beyond it another, at which the nuns attended the ser- 
vices of the church. Above the iron grating was a 
wooden one, and from this in a few minutes issued a 
low strain of wild Indian music, and presently a figure 
in white, with a long White veil and a candle in her 
right hand, and both arms extended, walked slowly to 
within a few feet of the grating, and then as slowly re- 
tired. Presently the same low note issued from the 
grating below, and we saw advancing a procession of 
white nuns, with long ^hite veils, each holding in her 
hand a long lighted candle. The music ceased, and a 
chant arose, so low that it required intent listening to 
catch the sound. Advancing two and two with this 
low chant to within a few feet of the grating, the sis- 
ters turned off different ways. At the end of the pro- 
cession were two black nuns, leading between them the 
probationer, dressed in white, with a white veil and a 
wreath of roses round her head. The white nuns ar- 
ranged themselves on each side, their chant ceased, and 
the voice of the probationer was heard alone, but so 
faint that it seemed the breathing of a spirit of air. 
The white nuns strewed flowers before her, and she 
advanced between the two black ones. Three times 
she stopped and kneeled, continuing the same low 


not yet taken ; the black veil was not drawn. Again 
the nuns pressed round, and this time they almost de- 
voured her with kisses. 

I knew nothing of her story. I had not heard that 
the ceremony was to take place till late in the evening 
before, and I had made up my mind that she was old 
and ugly ; but she was not, nor was she faded and worn 
with sorrow, the picture of a broken heart; not yet a 
young and beautiful enthusiast ; she was not more than 
twenty-three, and had one of those good teiceB which, 
without setting men wild by their beauty, bear the im* 
press of a nature well qualified for the performance of 
all duties belonging to daughter, and wife, and mother, 
speaking the kindliness and warmth of a woman's heart. 
It was pale, and she seemed conscious of the important 
step and the solenm vows she was taking, and to have 
no pangs ; and yet who can read what is pasnng in the 
human breast ? 

She returned to the provesor, who drew over her 
face a black veil ; and music rose in bursts of rqoicing, 
that one who was given to the world to take a share in 
its burdens had withdrawn herself from it. Imme« 
"diately commenced the hum of restrained voices ; and 
working my way through the crowd, I joined a party of 
ladies, one of whom was my fair countrywoman. She 
was from a small country town in Pennsylvania, and 
the romance of her feelings toward convents and nuns 
had not yet worn off. On Carrera's first invasion she 
had taken refuge in the convent of La Concepcion-, and 
spoke with enthusiasm of the purity and piety of the 
nuns, describing some as surpassing in all the attributes 
of woman. She knew particularly the one who had 
just taken the veil, and told me that in a few days she 
would appear at the grating of the convent to embrace 


with lavish expenditure of moneji but never anjrthing 
so simply beautiful. My stroll through the streets be- 
fore the procession was the most interesting part of the 
day. All the inhabitants, in their best dresses, were 
there : the men standing at the corners, and the women, 
in black mantillas, seated in long rows on each side ; the 
flags and curtains in the balconied windows, the green 
of the streets, the profusion of flowers, the vistas through 
the arches, and the simplicity of manners which per- 
mitted ladies of the first class to mingle freely in the 
crowd and sit along the street, formed a picture of 
beauty that even now relieves the stamp of dulneas 
with which Guatimala is impressed upon my mind. 

The procession for which all these beautiful prepara^ 
tions were made opened with a single Indian, old, 
wrinkled, dirty, and ragged, bareheaded, and stagger- 
ing under the load of an enormous bass-drum, which he 
carried on his back, seeming as old as the conquest, 
with every cord and the head on one side broken ; an- 
other Indian followed in the same ragged costume, with 
one ponderous drumstick, from time to time striking the 
old drum. Then came an Indian with a large whistle, 
corresponding in venerableness of aspect with the 
drum, on which, from time to time, he gave a fierce 
blast, and looked around with a comical air of satisfac- 
tion for applause. Next followed a little boy about ten 
years old, wearing a cocked hat, boots above his knees, 
a drawn sword, and the mask of a hideous African. 
He was marshalling twenty or thirty persons, not inapt- 
ly called the Devils, all wearing grotesque and hideous 
masks, and ragged, fantastic dresses ; some with reed 
whistles, some knocking sticks together ; and the prin- 
cipal actors were two pseudo-women, with broad-brim- 
med European hats, frocks high in the necks, waists 


ferocity, and carrying their muskets without any order ; 
the officers dressed in any costume they oould com- 
mand ; a few, with black hat and silver or gold band, 
like footmen, carried their heads very high. Many 
were lame from gunshot wounds badly cured; and a 
gentleman who was with me pointed out several who 
were known to have committed assassinations and 
murders, for which, in a country that had any govern- 
ment, they would have been hung. The city was at 
their mercy, and Carrera was the only man living who 
had any control over them. 

At the head of the street the procession filed off in 
the cross streets, and the figure of the Virgin was taken 
from its place and set up on the altar. The priests kneel- 
ed before it and prayed, and the whole crowd fell on 
their knees. I was at the corner near the altar, which 
commanded a view of four streets, and rising a little on 
one knee, saw in all the streets a dense mass of kneel- 
ing figures, rich men and beggars, lovely women and 
stupid-looking Indians, fluttering banners and curtains 
in balconied windows, and the figures of angels in their 
light gauze drapery seeming to float in 8^ ; while the 
loud chant of the crowd, swoUen by the deep chorus of 
the soldiers' voices, produced a scene df mingled beauty 
and deformity at once captivating and repulsive. This 
over, all rose, the Virgin was replaced on her throne, 
and the procession again moved. At the next altar I 
turned aside and went to the square in firont of the 
Church of San Francisco, the place fixed for the grand 
finale of the honours to the Virgin, the exhibition of 
fireworks ! 

At dajk the procession entered the foot of a street 
leading to the square. It approached with a loud 
chant, and at a distsuice nothing was visible but a long 


homei the streets were lighted with a brilliancy almost 
vnearthly ; and the ladies, proud of their moonlight, al- 
most persuaded me that it was a land to lore. 

Continuing on our way, we passed a guardhouse, 
where a group of soldiers were lying at full length, so as 
to make everybody pass off the walk and go round 
them. Perhaps three or four thousand people, a large 
portion ladies, were turned off. All felt the insolence 
of tliese fellows, and I have no doubt some felt a strong 
disposition to kick them out of the way ; but, though 
young men enough passed to <^iTe the whole troop out 
of the city, no complaint was made, and no notice 
whatever taken of it. In one of the corridors of the 
plaza another soldier lay on his back crosswise, with his 
musket by his side, and muttering to everybody that 
passed, ^' Tread on me if you dare, and you'U see !" 
and we all took good care not to tread on him. I re- 
turned to my house,, to pass the evening in solitude ; 
and it was melancholy to reflect that, with the elements 
of so much happiness, Guatimala was made so miser- 


Straggled about the city, which, heard moving at a 
distance and not answering the challengei were fired 
upon without ceremony. 

There was but one paper in Ouatimala, and that a 
weekly, and a mere chronicler of decrees and political 
movements. City news passed by word of mouth. 
Every morning everybody asked his neighbonr what 
v^as the news. One day it viras that an old deaf woman, 
who could not hear the sentinel's challenge, had been 
shot; another, that Asturias, a rich old citizen, had 
been stabbed ; and another morning the report circu- 
lated that thirty-three nuns in the convent of Santa 
Teresa had been poisoned. This was a subject of ex- 
citement for several days, when the nuns all recovered, 
and it was ascertained that they had suffered firom the 
unsentimental circumstance of eating food that did not 
agree with them. 

On Friday, in company with my fux eountrywoman, 
I visited the convent of La Concepcion for the piur- 
pose of embracing a nun, or rather the nun, who had 
taken the black veil. The room adjoining the parlato- 
ria of the convent was crowded, and she vras standing 
in the doorway with the crown on her head and a doll 
in her hand. It was the last time her friends could see 
her face ; but this puerile exhibition of the doU detract- 
ed firom the sentiment. It was an occasion that ad- 
dressed itself particularly to ladies ; some wondered 
that one so young should abandon a world to them 
beaming with bright and beautiful prospects; others, 
with whom the dreams of life had passed, looked upon 
her retirement as the part of wisdom. They embraced 
her, and retired to make room for others. Before our 
turn came there was an irruption of those objects of 
my detestation, the eternal soldiers, who, leaving their 


Sentinels were at the doori and eig^ or tea •ddieira 
basking in the ton outsidsi past of a bodj-gnvdy wha 
had been fitted out with red bombaaet jadceta and tar- 
tan {riaid oapa, and made a nmeh better ly peMr a nce 
than any of his soldieiB I had before seen. Ahmg th» 
eorrjdor wasa row of mnsketSi bright aodin good' or* 
dar. We entered a small room adjoining tiie sale, and 
saw Carrera sitting at a table ooonting money. 

Ever since my arrival in the country this ilame of 
teiror had been ringing in my ears. llr. Bfon^omeryi 
to n^iom I have befiore referredi and who arrived us 
Central America about a year be&xe mey«tyB|'* An in* 
enrreoticm, I was told| had taken phee among the Isk* 
dianS|.whO| nnder the directions of a manealled Oaa> 
jrera, were ravaging the country andt committing aB 
kinds of excesses. Along the eaast| and in soma .of 
the departments, tranquillity had Itot been di s Uirb e d ; ^ 
but in the interior there was no safety far Ike JnveUec, 
and every avenue to the capital itas b e set Jry^partiea of 
brigands, who showed namercy to their .viilifelHi^ espe-> 
cially if they were foreignem ;" andrin sefaring to tha 
posture of affidrs at his departure he adds^ *' It is proba** 
Ue, however, that while this is being written, the aetrra 
measures of (General BCoraaan fiir potting down the ia-« 
surrection have been successful, and that- Ae career of 
this rebel hero has been brought to a oloae;^' But the 
career of the ** rebel hero'' was not brong^ to a dose; 
the " man called Carrera" was now absolute master of' 
Guatimala ; and, if I am not deceived, he is destined 
to become more conspicuous than any other leader who 
has yet risen in the convulsions of Spanish America. 

He is a native of one of the wards of Ouatimala. 
His friends, in compliment, call him a mulatto ; I, for 
the same reason, call him an Indian, considering that 


ments of cavalry and a white flag, to hear their com- 
plaints ; but while conferring with the insurgents they 
were surrounded, and almost all of them cut to pieces. 
The number of the disaffected increased to more than a 
thousand, and Galvez sent against them six hundred 
troops, who routed them, plundered and burned their 
villages, and, among other excesses, the last outrage 
was perpetrated upon Carrera's wife. Roused to fury 
by this personal wrong, he joined with several chiefs of 
villages, vowing never to lay down his arms while an 
officer of M orazan remained in the State. With a few 
infuriated followers he went from village to village, 
killing the judges and government officers, when pur- 
sued escaping to the mountains, begging tortillas at the 
.haciendas for his men, and sparing and protecting all 
who assisted him. At this time be could neither read 
nor write ; but, urged on and assisted by some priests, 
particularly one Padre Lobo, a notorious profligate, he 
issued a proclamation, having his name stamped at the 
foot of it, against strangers and the government, for at- 
tempting to poison the Indians, demanding the destruc- 
tion of all foreigners excepting the Spaniards, the abo- 
lition of the Livingston Code, a recall of the archbishop 
and friars, the expulsion of heretics, and a restora- 
tion of the privileges of the Church and old usages 
and customs. His fame spread as a highwayman and 
murderer ; the roads about Guatimala were unsafe ; all 
travelling was broken up ; the merchants were thrown 
into consternation by intelligence that the whole of the 
goods sent to the fair at Esquipulas had fallen into his 
hands (which, however, proved untrue) ; and very soon 
he became so strong that he attacked villages and even 

The reader will bear in mind that this was in the 




consented. At two o'clock it was mmonred that Car- 
rera had joined the Antiguanos. Prem published a de- 
cree that all males from fourteen to sixty, except priests 
and persons labouring under physical imbecility, should 
take up arms. At nine o'clock at night there was an 
alarm that a party of Carrera's gang was at the Ayce- 
tuna. The square was garrisoned, and sentinels and 
cannons placed at the corners of the streets. To add 
to the excitement, during the night the provesor died, 
and news was received that the Livingston Code had 
been publicly burned at Chiquimula, and that the town 
had declared against Galvez. On Wednesday morn- 
ing fosses were commenced at the comers of the pub- 
lic square ; but on Thursday the Marquis of Aycinenai 
the leader of the Central party, by^a conference with 
the divided Liberals, succeeded in inducing a majority 
of deputies to sign a convention of amnesty, which gave 
general satisfaction, and the next day the city was per- 
fectly quiet. 

At midday this calm proved the forenumer of a 
dreadful storm. The troops of the Federal govern- 
ment, the only reliable force, revolted, and with bayo- 
nets fixed, colours flying, and cannon in front, left the 
barracks and marched into the plasa. They refused to 
ratify the convention by which, it was represented to 
them, Oalvez was to be deposed, and Valenznela, the 
vice-chief, and a tool of Barundia, appointed in his 
stead. They refused to serve under any of the opposi- 
tion, and said they could give protection, and had no 
occasion to ask it. Deputies were cited to attend a 
meeting of the Assembly, but they were afraid to con- 
vene. The officers had a conference with the soldiers ; 
and Merino, a sergeant, drew up a document requiring 
the President Morazcm to be sent for, and Galveae to 


spattered on the wall, were among the curiosities $howB 
to me in Guatimala. 

On Sunday morning the bells again sounded the 
alarm ; the rebels were at the old gate, and commis- 
sioners were sent out to treat with them. They de- 
manded an evacuation of the plaza by the soldiers ; but 
the soldiers answered, indignantly, that the rebels 
might come and take the square. Prem softened this 
into an answer that they could not surrender to rebels, 
and at about half past twelve at night the attack com- 
menced. The rebels scattered in the suburbsy wasting 
.powder and bullets, and in the morning Yafiez, with 
seventy cavalry, made a sally, and, routing three hun- 
dred of them, returned into the plaza with lances reek- 
ing with blood. Probably, if he had been seconded by 
the citizens, he would have driven them all back to the 

On Wednesday Carrera joined the rebels. He had 
sent his emissaries to the villages, rousing the Indians, 
and promising them the plunder of Ouatimala ; and on 
Thursday, with a tumultuous mass of half-naked sava- 
ges, men, women, and children, estimated at ten or 
twelve thousand, presented himself at the gate of the 
city. The Antiguanos themselves were struck with con- 
sternation, and the citizens of Ouatimala were thrown 
into a state bordering on distraction. Commissioners 
were again sent out to treat with him, from whcnn he 
demanded the deposition of Galvez, the chief of the 
state, the evacuation of the plaza by the Federal troops, 
and a free passage into the city. Probably, even at this 
time, if the Federal troops had been supported by the 
citizens they could have resisted the entry ; but the 
consternation, and the fear of exasperating the rebel- 
lious hordes, were so great, that nothing was thought of 



but submission. The Assembly met in terror and dis- 
traction, and the result was an assent to cdl that was 

At five o'clock the small band of government troops 
evacuated the plasecu The infantry, amounting to three 
hundred, marched out by the Calle Real, or Royal- 
street. The cavalry, seventy in number, exclusive of 
officers, on their march through another street, met an 
aiddecamp of Carrera, who ordered them to lay dovni 
their arms. Yanez answered that he must first see his 
general ; but the dragoons, suspecting some treachery 
on the part of Yalenzuela, beccune panic-struck, and 
fled. Yanez, with thirty-five men, galloped through 
the city, and escaped by the road to Mixco ; the rest 
rushed back into the plaza, threw down their lances in 
disgust, dismounted and disappeared, when not a single 
man was left under arms. 

In the mean time Caxrera's hordes were advancing. 
The commandant of the Antiguans asked him if he had 
his masses divided into squares or companies ; he an- 
swered, ^'No entiendo nada de eso. Todo es uno." 
*^ I don't understand anything of that. It is all the 
same."' Among his leaders were Monreal and other 
known outlaws, criminals, robbers, and murderers* 
He himself was on horseback, with a green bush in his 
hat, and hung round with pieces of dirty cotton clothy 
covered with pictures of the saints. A gentleman who 
saw them from the roof of his house, and who was fa- 
miliar with all the scenes of terror which had taken 
place in that unhappy city, told me that he never felt 
such consternation and horror as when he saw the entry 
of this immense mass of barbarians ; choking up the 
streets, all with green bushes in their hats, seeming at 
a distance like a moving forest; armed with rusty mus- 


kets, old pistols, fowling-pieces, some with locks and 
some without; sticks formed into the shape of muskets, 
with tin-plate locks; clubs, machetes, and knives tied 
to the ends of long poles ; and swelling the multitude 
were two or three thousand women, with sacks and al- 
forgas for carrying away the plunder. Many, who had 
never left their villages before, looked wild at the sight 
of the houses and churches, and the magnificence of 
the city. They entered the plaza, vociferating " Viva 
la religion, y muerte a los etrangeros !" Carrera him- 
self, amazed at the immense ball he had set in motion, 
was so embarrassed that he could not guide his horse. 
He afterward said that he was frightened at the diffi- 
culty of controlling this huge and disorderly mass. 
The traitor Barundia, the leader of the opposition, the 
Catiline of this rebellion, rode by his side on his entry 
into the plaza. 

At sundown the whole multitude set up the Salve, or 
Hymn to the Virgin. The swell of human voices filled 
the air, and made the hearts of the inhabitants quake 
with fear. Carrera entered the Cathedral; the Indians, 
in mute astonishment at its magnificence, thronged in 
after him, and set up around the beautiful altar the un- 
couth images of their village saints. Monreal broke 
into the house of General Prem, and seized a uniform 
coat, richly embroidered with gold, into which Carrera 
slipped his arms, still wearing his straw hat with its 
green bush. A watch was brought him, but he did not 
know the use of it. Probably, since the invasion of 
Rome by Alaric and the Goths, no civilized city was 
ever visited by such an inundation of barbarians. 

And Carrera alone had power to control the wild ele- 
ments around him. As soon as possible some of the 
authorities sought him out, and in the most abject terms 


bayonets and machetes, drove the mob back firom the 
door, and, branding them as robbers and murderers^ 
with his white hair streaming in the wind, poured out 
such a torrent of indignation and contempt, that the In- 
dians, amazed at his audacity, desisted. After this, 
with an abnost wanton exposure of life, he was seen 
in the midst of every mob. To the astonishment of 
everybody, he was not killed ; and the foreign residents 
presented him a unanimous letter of thanks for his fear- 
less and successful exertions in the protection of life 
and property. 

Pending the negotiation, Carrera, dressed in Pfem's 
uniform, endeavoured to restrain his tumultuom follow- 
ers ; but several times he said that he could not himself 
resist the temptation to sack Klee's house, and those of 
the other Ingleses. There was a strange dash of fanat- 
icism in the character of this lawless chieftain. The 
battle-cry of his hordes was '^ Viva la religion !'' The 
palace of the archbishc^ had been suffered to be used 
as a theatre by the Liberals ; Carrera demanded the 
keys, and, putting them in his pocket, declared that, to 
prevent any future pollution, it should not be opened 
again until the banished archbishop retumed to occu- 
py it. 

At length the terms upon which he ooosented to with- 
draw were agreed upon, viz., eleven thousand doUaia 
in silver, ten thousand to be distributed among his fol- 
lowers, and one thousand for his own share ; a thou- 
sand muskets^ and a commission as lieutenant-colonel 
for himself. The amoimt of money was small as the 
price of relief from such imminent danger, but it was 
an immense sum in the eyes of Carrera and his follow- 
ers, few of whom were worth more than the rags ou 
their backs and the stolen arms in their hands ; and it 



reco|Hrae had to the old system of forced loans. This 
exasperated the moneyed men ; and in the midst of dis- - 
cord and confusion news was received that Quezalte- 
nango, one of the departments of Guatimala, had se* 
ceded, and declared itself a separate state. At this 
time, too, the government received a letter from Car- 
rera, stating that he had been informed, since his ar* 
rival at M atasquintla, that people spoke ill of him in 
the capital, and if they continued to do so he had four 
thousand men, and would return and put things right. 
From time to time he sent a message to the same effect 
by some straggling Indian who happened to pass 
through his village. Afterward it was reported that 
his followers had renounced his authority and com- 
menced operations on their own account, threatening 
the city with another invasion, determined, according 
to their proclamations, to exterminate the whites and e»» 
tablish a government of pardos libres, ^' free tigers," and 
enjoy in their own right the lands which had devolved 
upon them by their emancipation from the d(nninion of 
the whites. To the honour of Guatimala, a single 
qmrk of spirit broke forth, and men of ail classes took 
up arms ; but it was a single flash, and soon died away. 
Again intelligence arrived that Carrera himself had sent 
out his emissaries to summon his hordes for another 
march upon the city. Several families received pri- 
vate information and advice to seek safety in flight. 
Hundreds of people did so, and the roads were crowd- 
ed with processions of mules, horses, and Indians 
loaded with luggage. On Sunday everybody was go- 
ing, and early on Monday morning guards were placed 
at the barriers. Hundreds of passports were applied 
for and refused. Again a decree was published that 
all should take up arms. The militia were again mus- 


tered. At ten o'clock on Tuesday night it wat said 
that Cairera was at Palencia, at eleven that he had 
gone to suppress an insurrection of his own bandits, • 
and on Wednesday night that he was at a place called 
Canales. On Sunday, the fourth of March, a review 
took place of about seven hundred men. The Anti- 
gua sent three hundred and fifty muskets, and ammuni- 
tion, which they did not consider it prudent to keep, as 
there had been cries of " muera Guatimala, y viva Car- 
rera !" and placards bearing the same ominous words 
had been posted on the walls. At this time a letter 
was received from Carrera by the government, advi- 
sing them to disband their troops, and assuring them 
that he was collecting forces only to destroy a party of 
four hundred rebels, headed by one Galvez (the for- 
mer chief of the state, whom he had deposed), and re- 
questing two cannon and more ammunition. At an- 
other time, probably supposing that the government 
must be interested in his fortunes, he sent word that he 
had narrowly escaped being assassinated. Monreal • 
had taken advantage of an opportunity, seduced his 
men, tied him to a tree, and was in the very act of 
having him shot, when his brother Sotero Carrera 
rushed in, and ran Monreal through with his bayonet. 
The government now conceived the project of inducing 
his followers, by the influence of the priests, to surren- 
der their arms on paying them five dollars apiece ; but 
very soon he was heard of stronger than ever, occupy- 
ing all the roads, sending in imperious proclamations to 
the government, and at length the news came that he 
was actually marching upon the city. 

At this time, to the unspeakable joy of the inhabi- 
tants, General Morazan, the president of the republic, 
arrived from San Salvador, with fifteen hundred men. 


with apprehension, but in their hearts rejoicing at the 
distraction of the country under the administration of 
the Liberals, and that one had risen up capable of in- 
spiring them with terror ; and the divided Liberals ha^ 
ting each other with a more intense hate even than the 
Centralists bore to them ; but the excitement became so 
great that all the parties drew up separate petitions to 
General Morazan, representing the deplorable state of 
insecurity in the city, and begging him to enter and 
provide for its safety. Separate sets of deputies hur« 
ried to anticipate each other at General Morazan's 
headquarters, and pay court to him by being the first to 
ask his protection. General Morazan had become ac- 
quainted with the distracted condition of the city, and 
was in the act of mounting his horse when the deputies 
arrived. On Sunday he entered with an escort of two 
hundred soldiers, amid the ringing of bells, firing of 
cannon, and other demonstrations of joy. The same 
day the merchants, with the Marquis of Aycinena and 
others of the Central party, presented a petition repre- 
senting the dreadful state of public feeling, and request- 
ing Morazan to depose the state authorities and assume 
the reins of government, and to convoke a Constituent 
Assembly, as the only means of saving Goatimala firom 
utter ruin. In the evening deputies firom the different 
branches of the Liberal party had long conferences 
with the president. Morazan answered all that he 
wished to act legally, would communicate with the As- 
sembly the next day, and be governed by their deci- 
sion. The proceedings in the Assembly are too afflict- 
ing and disgraceful to dwell upon. So far as I can un- 
derstand the party strife of that time, after wading 
through papers and pamphlets emanating from both 
sidesi General Morazan conducted himself with probi- 



ty and honour. The Centralists made a desperate ef- 
fort to attach him to them, but he would not accept the 
offered embrace^ nor the sycophantic service of men 
who had always opposed him; nor would he sustain 
what he believed to be wrong in his own partisans. 

In the mean time Carrera was gaining ground ; he 
had routed several detachments of the Federal troops, 
massacred men, and increased his stock of ammunition 
and arms. At length all agreed that something must 
be done ; and at a final meeting of the Assembly, with 
a feeling of desperation, it was decreed without debatei 

1. That the state government should retire to the 

3. That the president, in person or by delegate, 
should govern the district according to article 176 of 
the Constitution. 

Amid these scenes within the *city, and rumours of 
worse from without, on Sunday night a ball was given 
to Morazan ; but the Centralists, displeased at his not 
acceding to their overtures, did not attend. Galves, 
the chief deposed by Carrera, made his first appearance 
since his deposition, and danced the whole time. 

Though Morazan was irresolute in the cabinet, he 
was all energy in the field; and being now invested 
with full power, sustained his high reputation as a skil- 
ful soldier. The bulletin of the army for May and 
June exhibits the track of Carrera, devastating villages 
and towns, and the close pursuit of the government 
troops, beating him wherever they found him, but never 
able to secure his person. In the mean time, party 
jealousies continued, and the state government was in 
a state of anarchy. The Assembly could not meet, be- 
cause, the state party not attending, it was incumbent on 
the vice-chief to retire, and the oldest counsellor to take 

Vol. L— H h 21 


his place. But there was no such person ; the term of 
the council had expired, and no new elections had been 
held; and while Morazan was dispersing the wild bands 
ot Carrera, and relieving the Guatimalians from the 
danger which had brought them to their knees before 
him, the old jealousies revived, and incendiary publica- 
tions were issued, charging him with exhausting the 
country in supporting idle soldiers, and keeping the city 
in subjection by bayonets. 

About the first of July General Morazan considered 
Guatimala relieved from all external danger, and re- 
turned to San Salvador, leaving troops in different 
towns under the command of Carvallo, and appointing 
Carlos Salazar commandant in the city. Carrera was 
supposed to be completely put down; and to bring 
things to a close, Carvallo published the following 


'* The person or penons who may deliver the crimiDil Rafael Carrera, dead or 
alire (if he does not present himself voluntarily under the last pardon), shall re- 
ceive a reward of fifteen hundred dollars and two cabelleiias of land, and pardon 
for any crime he has committed. 

** The general-in-chief, 

** Cfuatimala, Jvly 20, 1838. J. N. Caitallo.'' 

But the '< criminal" Carrera, the proscribed outlaw, 
was not yet put down. One by one, he surprised the 
detachments of Federal troops ; and while the city ex- 
hibited the fierceness of party spirit, forced loans, com- 
plaints of the expense of maintaining idle soldiers, plans 
to abolish the state government and form a provisional 
junta, its actual prostration, and the organizing of a 
Constituent Assembly with M. Rivera Paz at the head, 
Carrera, with still increasing numbers, attacked Amati- 
tan, took the Antigua, and, barely waiting to sack a few 
houses, stripped it of cannon, muskets, and ammuni- 



Uon, and again marched against Guatixnala, proclaim- 
ing his intention to raze every house to the ground, and 
murder every white inhabitant. 

The consternation in the city cannot be conceived. 
General Morazan was again solicited to come. A line 
in pencil was received £rom him by a man who carried 
it sewed up in the sleeve of his coat, urging the city to 
defend itself and hold out for a few days ; but the dan- 
ger was too imminent ; Salazar, at the head of the 
Federal troops (the idle soldiers complained of), march- 
ed out at two o'clock in the morning, and, aided by a 
thick fog, came upon Carrera suddenly at Villa Nueva, 
killed four hundred and fifty of his men, and complete- 
ly routed him, Carrera himself being badly woimded 
in the thigh. The city was saved from destruction, 
and the day after Morazan entered with a thousand 
men. The shock of the immense danger they had es- 
caped was not yet over ; on the morrow it might re- 
turn ; party jealousies were scared away ; all looked to 
General Morazan as the only man who could effectually 
save them from Carrera, and, in turn, begged him to 
accept the office of dictator. 

About the same time Guzman, the general of Quez- 
altenango, arrived, with seven hundred men, and Gen* 
eral Morazan made formidable arrangements to enclose 
and crush the Cachurecos. The result was the same 
as before : Carrera was constantly beaten, but as con- 
stantly escaped. His followers were scattered, his best 
men taken and shot, and he himself was penned up and 
almost starved on the top of a mountain, with a cordon 
of soldiers around its base, and only escaped by the re- 
missness of the guard. In three months, chased from 
place to place, his old haunts broken up, and hemmed 
in on every sidci he entered into a treaty with Guzman, 


S44 mciDXNTs OP tbavbl. 

by which he agreed to deliver up one thousand mas- 
ketS) and disband his remaining followers. In execu- 
ting the treaty, however, he delivered only four hundred 
muskets, and those old and worthless; and this breach 
of the convention was winked at by Guzman, little 
dreaming of the terrible fate reserved for himself at 
Carrera's hands. 

This over, Morazan deposed Rivera Paz, restored 
Salazar, and returned to San Salvador, first laying 
heavy contributions on the city to support the expense 
of the war, and taking with him all the soldiers of the 
Federal Government, belying one of the party cries 
against him, that he was attempting to retain an influ- 
ence in the city by bayonets. Guzman returned to 
Quezaltenango, and the garrison consisted only of sev- 
enty men. 

The contributions and the withdrawal of the troops 
from the city created great dissatisfaction with Morazan, 
and at this time the political horizon became cloudy 
throughout the republic. The Marquis of Aycinena, 
who had been banished by Morazan, and had resided 
several years in the United States, studying our institu- 
tions, by a series of articles which were widely circu- 
lated, purporting to illustrate our constitution and laws, 
hurried on the crisis; Honduras and Costa Rica de- 
clared their independence of the general government : 
all this came back upon Guatimala, and added fuel to 
the already flaming fire of dissension. 

On the 24th of March, 1839, Carrera issued a bulle- 
tin from his old quarters in Matasquintla, in which, 
referring to the declaration of independence by the 
States, he says : '^ When those laws came to my hands, 
I read them and returned to them very often ; as a 
loving mother clasps in her arms an only son whom she 


league had continued since the April preceding my ar- 
rival. The great bond of union was hatred of Mora- 
zan and the Liberals. The Centralists had their Con- 
stituent Assembly, abolished the laws made by the Lib- 
erals, revived old Spanish laws and old names for the 
courts of justice and officers of government| and passed 
any laws they pleased so that they did not interfere 
with him. Their great difficulty was to keep him 
quiet. Unable to remain inactive in the city, he march- 
ed toward San Salvador, for the ostensible purpose of 
attacking General Morazan. The Centralists were in 
a state of great anxiety ; Carrera's success or his de* 
feat was alike dangerous to them. If defeated, Mora* 
■an might march directly upon the city, and take sig- 
nal vengeance upon them ; if successful, he might re- 
turn with his barbarians so intoxicated by victory as to 
be utterly uncontrollable. A little circumstance shows 
the position of things. Carrera's motheri an old wom- 
an well-known as a huckster on the plaza, died. 
Formerly it was the custom with the higher classes to 
bury in vaults constructed within the churches ; but from 
the time of the cholera, all burials, without distinctioui 
were forbidden in the churches, and even within the 
city, and a campo santo was established outside the 
town, in which all the principal families had vaults. 
Carrera signified his pleasure that his mother should 
be buried in the Cathedral! The government char- 
ged itself with the funeral, issued cards of invitation, 
and all the principal inhabitants followed in the pro- 
cession. No efforts were spared to conciliate and 
keep him in good temper ; but he was subject to violent 
bursts of passion, and, it was said, had cautioned the 
members of the government at such moments not to 
attempt to argue with him, but to let him have his own 


and affection, followed to the door, and continned fare- 
well greetings and cautions to take good care of her- 
self, which the lady answered as long as we were 
within hearing. We called at two or three other 
houses, and then all assembled at the place of rendez- 
vous. The courtyard was full of horsea, with every va- 
riety of fanciful moimtings. Althou^ we were going 
only nine miles, and to a large Indian villagei it was 
necessary to carry beds, bedding, and provisions. A 
train of servants large enough to carry stores for a small 
military expedition was sent ahead, and we all started. 
Outside the gate all the anxieties and perils which 
slumbered in the city were forgotten. Our road lay 
over an extensive plaiu, seeming, as the sun went doini 
behind the volcanoes of Agua and Fuego, a beandfal 
bowling-green, in which our party, preceded by a long 
file of Indians with loads on their backs, formed a 
picture. I was surprised to find that the ladies were 
not good horsewomen. They never ride for pleasure, 
and, on account of the want of aeeommodation on the 
road, seldom travel. 

It was after dark when we reached the borders of 
a deep ravine separating the plain firom Mixco. We 
descended, and, rising on the other side, emerged firom 
the darkness of the ravine into an illuminated streeti 
and, at two or three horses' lengths, into a plasa bla* 
zing with lights and crowded with people, nearly all 
Indians in holyday costume. In the centre of the plaza 
was a fine fountain, and at the head of it a gigantic 
church. We rode up to the house that had been pro- 
vided for the ladies, and, leaving them there, the gen- 
tlemen scattered to find lodgings for themselves. The 
door of every house was open, and the only question 
asked was whether there was room. Some of the 



young men did not give themselves this trouble, as 
they were disposed to make a night of it ; and Mr. P. 
ond I, -having secured a place, returned to the house oc« 
cupied by the ladies. In one corner was a tienda about 
ten feet square, partitioned off and shelved, which served 
as a place for their hats and shawls. The rest of the 
room contained merely a long table and benches. In a 
few moments the ladies were ready, and we all sallied 
out for a walk. All the streets and passages were brill- 
iantly illuminated, and across some were arches decora- 
ted with evergreens and lighted, and at the corners were 
altars under arbours of branches adorned with flowers. 
The spirit of frolic seemed to take possession of our file- 
leaders, who, as the humour prompted them, entered 
any house, and after a lively chat left it, contriving to 
come out just as the last of the party were going in. In 
one house they found a poncha rolled up very carefully, 
with the end of a guitar sticking out. The proprietor 
of the house only knew that it belonged to a young man 
from Guatimala, who had left it as an indication of his 
intention to pass the night there. One of the yotmg 
men unrolled the poncha, and some loaves of bread 
fell out, which he distributed, and with half a loaf in 
his mouth struck up a waltz, which was followed by a 
quadrille ; the good people of the house seemed pleas- 
ed at this free use of their roof, and shaking hands all 
around, with many expressions of good-will on both 
sides, we left as unceremoniously as we had entered. 
We made the tour of all the principal streets, and as 
we returned to the plaza the procession was coming out 
of the church. 

The village procession in honour of its patron saint 
is the great pride of the Indian, and the touchstone of 
his religious character. Every Indian contributes his 



labour and money toward getting it up, and he is most 
honoured who is allowed the most important part in it* 
This was a rich village, at which all the muleteers of 
Ouatimala lived; and nowhere had I seen an Indian 
procession so imposing. The church stood on an ele- 
vation at the head oif the plaza, its whole facade rich in 
ornaments illuminated by the light of torches ; and the 
large platform and the steps were thronged with women 
in white. A space was cleared in the middle before 
the great door, and with a loud chant the procession 
passed out of the doorway. First came the alcalde and 
his alguazils, all Indians, with rods of office in one hand 
and lighted wax candles, six or eight feet long, in the 
other ; then a set of devils, not as plajrful as the devils 
of Guatimala, but more hideous, and probably better 
likenesses, according to the notions of the Indians ; then 
came, borne aloft by Indians, a large silver cross, richly 
chased and ornamented, and followed by the curate, 
with a silken canopy held over his head on the ends of 
long poles borne by Indians. As the cross advanced 
all fell on their knees, and a stranger would have been 
thought guilty of an insult upon their holy religion who 
omitted conforming to this ceremony. Then came fig- 
ures of saints larger than life, borne on the shoulders 
of Indians ; and then a figure of the Virgin, gorgeously 
dressed, her gown glittering with spangles* Then fol- 
lowed a long procession of Indian women dressed in 
costume, with a thick red cord twisted in the hair, so as 
to look like a turban, all carrying lighted candles. The 
procession passed through the illuminated streets, under 
the arches, and stopping from time to time before the 
altars, made the tour of the village, and in about an 
hour, with a loud chant, ascended the steps of the 
church. Its re-entry was announced by a discharge of 



The benches were dntwn up to the table, and as many 
as could find seats sat down. Before tapper was OTer 
there was an irruption of yoong men from Goatimala^ 
with glazed hats, ponchas, and swords, and presenting 
a rather disorderly appearance ; but they wbre mostly 
juveniles, brothers and cousins of the ladies. With 
their hats on, they seated themselves at the vacated ta- 
bles, and, as soon as they had finished eating, hurried 
off the plates, piled the tables away in a corner, one on 
the top of the other, and the candles on the top of all,, 
the violins struck up, and gentlemen and ladies, lighting 
cigars and cigarillos, commenced dancing. I am sorry 
to say that generally the ladies of Central America, not 
excepting Guatimala, smoke, married ladies poros, or 
all tobacco, and unmarried cigars, or tobacco wrapped in 
paper or straw. Every gentleman carries in his pock- 
et a silver case, with a long string of cotton, steel and 
flint, taking up nearly as much space as a handker- 
chief, and one of the offices of gallantry is to strike a 
light ; by doing it well, he may help to kindle a flame 
in a lady's heart ; at all events, to do it bunglingly 
would be ill-bred. I will not express my sentiments 
on smoking as a custom for the sex. I have recollec- 
tions of beauteous lips profaned. Nevertheless, even 
in this I have seen a lady show her prettiness and re- 
finement, bcgrely touching the straw to her lips, as it 
were kissing it gently and taking it away. When a gen- 
tleman asks a lady for a light, she always removes the 
cigar from her lips. Happily, the dangerous proximity 
which sometimes occurs between gentlemen in the streel 
is not in vogue. The dancing continued till two o'clock, 
and the breaking up was like the separation of a ga^ 

,r:.-:- ■ -K> 


family party. The young men dispersed to sleep or to 
finish the night with merriment ebewhere, and Don 
Manuel and I retired to the house he had secured for us. 

We were in our hammocks, talking over the affairs 
of the night, when we heard a noise in the street, a 
loud tramping past the door, and a clash of swords. 
Presently Mr. P.'s servant knocked for admission, and 
told us that a man had been killed a few doors off by a 
sword-cut across the head. Instead of going out to 
gratify an idle curiosity, like prudent men we secured 
the door. The tramping passed up the street, and 
presently we heard reports of firearms. The whole 
place seemed to be in an uproar. We had hardly Icon 
down again before there was another knock at the door. 
Our host, a respectable old man, with his wife, slept in 
a back room, and, afraid of rioters, they had a consul- 
tation about opening it. The former was unwilling to 
do so, but the latter, with a mother's apprehensions, 
said that she was afraid some accident had happened to 
Chico. The knocking continued, and Raffael, a known 
companion of their son, cried out that Chico was 
wounded. The old man rose for a light, and, appre-> 
bending the worst, the mother and a young sister burst 
into tears. The old man sternly checked them, said 
that he had always cautioned Chico against going out at 
night, and that he deserved to be punished^ The sis- 
ter ran and opened the door, and two young men enter- 
ed. We could see the glitter of their swords, and that 
one was supporting the other ; and, just as the old man 
procured a light, the wounded man fell on the ground. 
His face was ghastly pale, and spotted with blood ; his 
bat cut through the crown and rim as smoothly as if done 
with a razor, and his right hand and arm were wound 

Vol. I.— K k 

258 iNcipBicTs or tratel. 

in a pocket-handerchief, which was atained with blcxxl* 
The old man looked at him with the stemness of a Ro- 
maiii and told him that he knew this wonld be the eon-> 
sequence of his running out at night ; the mother and 
sister cried, and the young man, with a feeble voice, 
begged his father to spare him. His companion car- 
ried him into the back room; but before they could 
lay him on the bed he fell again and fainted. The 
fiither was alarmed, and when be recorered, asked 
him whether he wished to confess. Chico, with a 
faint voice, answered, As you please. The old man 
told his daughter to go for the padre, but the uproar 
was so great in the street that she was afraid to fenture 
out. In the mean time we examined his head, which, 
notwithstanding the cut through Ida hat, was barely 
touched ; and be said himself that he had received the 
blow on his hand, and that it was cut off. There was no 
physician nearer than Ouatijnala, and not a person who 
was able to do anything for him. I had had some 
practice in medicine, but none in surgery ; I knew, 
however, that it was at all events proper to wash and 
cleanse the wound, and with the assistance of Don 
ManuePs servant, a young Englishman whom Don 
Manuel had brought from the United States, laid him 
on a bed. This servant had had some experience in 
the brawls of the country, having killed a young man in / 
a quarrel growing out of a love affair, and been con- 
fined to the house seven months by wounds received in 
the same encounter. With his assistance I unwound 
the bloody handkerchief ; as I proceeded I found my 
courage failing me, and as, with the last coil, a dead 
hand fell in mine, a shudder and a deep groan ran 
through the speetators, and I almost let the hand drop. 


fill for his escape, swore vengeaHce against Spinosa. 
The latter, as I afterward learned, swore that the next 
time Chicb should not escape with the loss of his hand ; 
and, in all probability, when th^meet again one of them 
will be killed. 

All this time the uproar continued, shifting its loca- 
tion, with occasional reports of firearms ; an aunt was 
wringing her hands because her son was out, and we 
had reason to fear a tragical night. We went to bed, 
but for a long time the noise in the street, the groans of 
poor Chico, and the sobbing of his mother and sister 
kept us from sleeping. 

We did not wake till nearly ten o'clock. It was 
Sunday; the morning was bright and beautiful, the 
arches and flowers still adorned the streets, and the 
Indians, in their clean clothes, were going to Sunday 
mass. None except the immediate parties knew or 
cared for the events of the night. Crossing the plaza, 
we met a tall, dashing fellow on horseback, with a long 
sword by his side, who bowed to Mr. Pavon, and rode 
on past the house of Chico. This was Spinosa. No 
one attempted to molest him, and no notice whatever 
was taken of the circumstance by the authorities. 

The door of the church was so crowded that we could 
not enter ; and passing through the curate's house, we 
stood in a doorway on one side of the altar. The cu- 
rate, in his richest vestments, with young Indian as- 
sistants in sacerdotal dresses, their long black hair and 
sluggish features contrasting strangely with their garb 
and occupations, was officiating at the altar. On the 
front steps, with their black mantons drawn over their 
heads, and their eyes bent on the ground, were the dan- 
cers of our party the preceding night ; kneeling along 
the whole floor of the inmiense church was a dense 



mum of Indian women, with red headdresaes ; and lean- 
ing against the pillars, and standing up in the back- 
groond, were Indians wrapped in black chamars. 

We waited till mass was oyer, and then accompanied 
the ladies to the house and breakfasted. Sunday thou^ 
it was, the occupations for the day were a cockfight in 
the morning and bullfight in the afternoon* Our party 
was inorease# by the arrival of a distinguished family 
from Guatimala, and we all set out for the former. It 
was in the yard of an unoccupied house, which was al- 
ready crowded ; and I noticed, to the honour of the In* 
dians and the shame of the better classes^ that they 
were all Mestitzoes or white men, and, always excepts 
ing Carrera's soldiers, I never saw a worse looking or 
more assassin-like set of men. All along the walls of 
the yard were cocks tied by one leg, and men running 
about with other cocks under their arms, putting them 
on the ground to compare si^e and weight, regulating 
bets, and trying to cheat each other. At length a match 
was made ; the ladies of our party had seats in the cor- 
ridor of the house, and a space was cleared before them. 
The gafis were murderous instruments, more than two 
inches long, thick, and sharp as needles, and the birds 
were hardly on the ground before the feathers of the 
neck were ruffled and they flew at each other. In less 
time than had been taken to gaff them, one was lying 
on the ground with its tongue hanging out, and the 
blood nmning from its mouth, dead. The eagerness 
and vehemence, noise and uproar, wrangling, betting, 
swearing, and scuffling of the crowd, exhibited a dark 
picture of human nature and a sanguinary people. I 
owe it to the ladies to say, that in the city they never 
are present at such scenes. Here they went for no 
other reason that I could see than because they were 


away from home, and it was part of the fi£te. We 
must make allowances for an education and state of 
society every way different from our own. They were 
not wanting in sensibility or refinement; and though 
they did not turn away with disgust, they seemed to 
take no interest in the fight, and were not disposed to 
wait for a second. 

Leaving the disgusting scene, we wallAd around the 
suburbs, one point of which commands a noble view of 
the plain and city of Guatimala, with the surrounding 
mountains, and suggests a wonder that, amid objects 
so grand and glorious, men can grow up with tastes so 
grovelling. Crossing the plaza, we heard music in a 
large house belonging to a rich muleteer ; and entering, 
we found a young harpist, and two mendicant firiara 
with shaved crowns, dressed in white, with long white 
mantles and hoods, of an order newly revived in Gua- 
timala, and drinking agua ardiente. Mantas and hats 
were thrown off, tables and seats placed against the 
wall, and in a few moments my friends were waltzing ; 
two or three cotillons followed, and we returned to the 
posada, where, after fruit of various kinds had been 
served, all took seats on the back piazza. A horse hap- 
pened to be loose in the yard, and a young man, putting 
his hands on the hind quarters, jumped on his back. 
The rest of the young men followed suit, and then one 
lifted the horse up by his fore legs ; when he dropped 
him another took him up, and all followed, very much 
to the astonishment of the poor animal. Then followed 
standing on the piazza and jumping over each other's 
heads ; then one leaned down with his hands resting on 
the piazza, and another mounted on his back, and the 
former tried to shake him off without letting go his 
hands. Other feats followed, all impromptu, and each 



Excnnion to La Antigaa and the Pacific Ocean.— San Pabia— Koontain 
rjr.— El Rio Pensativo.— La Anliguad— Aceoant of ita Deatraction.— An Oelo* 
genarian. — The CalhedraL — San Juan Obiapo.—Santa Maria.— Volcano d9 
Agua.— Ascent of the Mountain.— The Crater. — A lofty Heeting>place. — The 
Descent- Return to La Antigua.— CoUrvation of Ck)chuieaL—ClaMC Groood. 
— Ciudad Vieja.— Its Foundation. — Visit from Indians.— Departure from Ciudad 
Vioja. — First Sight of the Pacific.— Alotenango.—Volcan del Fuega.—Eacuint- 
la. — Sunset Scene.— Masagua.— Port of latapa.— Arrrral at the Pacific. 


On Tuesday, the seventeenth of December, I set out 
on an excursion to La Antigua Guatimala and the Pa- 
cific Ocean. I was accompcuiied by a young man who 
lived opposite, and wished to ascend the Volcano de 
Agua. I had discharged Augustin, and with great dif- 
ficulty had procured a man who knew the route. Bo- 
maldi had but one fault : he was married ; like some 
other married men, he had a fancy for roving ; but his 
wife set her face against this propensity ; she said that 
I was going to El Mar, the sea, and might carry him 
off, and she would never see him again, and the affection- 
ate woman wept at the bare idea ; but upon my paying 
the money into her hands before going, she consented. 
My only luggage was a hammock and pair of sheetSj 
which Romaldi carried on his mule, and each had a 
pair of alforgas. At the gate we met Don Jos6 Vidau- 
ry, whom I had first seen in the president's chair of the 
Constituent Assembly, and who was going to visit his 
hacienda at the Antigua. Though it was only five or 
six hours' distant, Senor Vidaury, being a very heavy 
man, had two led horses, one of which he insisted on 
my mounting ; and when I expressed my admiration of 
the animal, he told me, in the usual phrase of Spanish 
courtesy, that the horse was mine. It was done in the 


or cold never predominates ; yet this city, smrounded 
by more natural beauty than any location I erer saw, 
has perhaps undergone more calamities than any city 
that was ever built. We passed the gate and rode 
through the suburbs, in the opening of the valley, on 
one side of which was a new house that reminded me 
of an Italian villa, with a large cochineal plantation ex^ 
tending to the base of the mountain. We crossed a 
stream bearing the poetical name of El Rio Pensativo; 
on the other side was a fine fountain, and at the comer 
of the street was the ruined church of Ban Domingo, a 
monument of the dreadful earthquakes which had pros- 
trated the old capital, and driven the inhabitants from 
their home. 

On each side were the ruins of churches, convents, 
and private residences, large and costly, some lying in 
masses, some with fronts still standing, richly orna- 
mented with stucco, cracked and yawning, roofless, 
without doors or windows, and trees growing inside 
above the walls. Many of the houses have been re- 
paired, the city is repeopled, and presents a strange ap- 
pearance of ruin and recovery. The inhabitants, Irke 
the dwellers over the buried Herculanenm, seemed to 
entertain no fears of renewed disaster. I rode vtp 
to the house of Don Miguel Manrique, which was oc- 
cupied by his family at the time of the destruction oi 
the city, and, after receiving a kind welcome, in cofn- 
pany with Senor Vidaury walked to the plaza. Thfe 
print opposite will give an idea, which I cannot, of 
the beauty of this scene. The great volcanoes of 
Agua and Fuego look down upon it ; in the centre is 
a noble stone fountain, and the buildings which face it, 
especially the palace of the captain general, displaying 
on its front the armorial bearings granted by the Em- 

lOi t 


1586, when the major part of the city again became ' 
heap of ruins, burying under them many of the unfbr-* 
tunate inhabitants ; the earth shook with such rioleiiee 
that the tops of the high ridges were torn off, and deep 
chasms formed in various parts of the level ground. 

" In 1601 a pestilential distemper carried o£f great 
numbers. It raged with so much malignity that three 
days generally terminated the existence of such as were 
affected by it." 

" On the 18th of February, 1651, about one o'clock, 
afternoon, a most extraordinary subterranean noise 
WW heard, and immediately followed by three violent 
diocks, at very short intervals from each other, which 
threw down many buildings and damaged others ; the 
tiles from the roofs of the houses were dispersed in aU 
directions, like light straws by a gust of wind ; the 
bells of the churches were rung by the vibrations ; mass- 
es of rock were detached from the mountains ; and 
even the wild beasts were so terrified, that, losing their 
natural instinct, they quitted their retreats, and sought 
shelter from the habitations of men." 

" The year 1686 brought with it another dreadful ep- 
idemic, which in three months swept away a tenth 
part of the inhabitants." ..." Prom the capital the pes- 
tilence spread to the neighbouring villages, and thence 
to the more remote ones, causing dreadful havoc, par- 
ticularly among the most robust of the inhabitants.'' 

" The year 1717 was memorable ; on the night of 
August 27th the mountain began to emit flames, at* 
tended by a continued subterranean rumbling noise. 
On the night of the 28th the eruption increased ta 
great violence, and very much alarmed the inhabitants. 
The images of saints were carried in procession, public 
prayers were put up, day after day ; but the terrifyinfi^ 


eniptioK still contiauedi and was foUpwed by fireqi^eot 
ahocks, at iptervaU, for more than four months. At 
last, on the nigbt of September 29th, the fate of Gua- 
timala appeared to be decided, and inevitable deatruo- 
tioii seemed to be at hand. Oreat was the ruin among 
the public edifices ; many of the houses were thrown 
dowH} and nearly all that remained were dreadfully in- 
jiired; but the greatest deyastation was seen in the 

^^ The year 1773 lE^as the piost melancholy epoch in the 
Wnals of this metropolis ; it was then destroyed, and, as 
the capital, rose no more from its ruins," . . • '^ About four 
p'clock, on the afternoon of July 29, a tremendoi||i.T])Ncm- 
tion was felt, and sbcMrtly after began t)ie dreadfol oon- . 
Vttlsion that decided the fate of the ipifortunate city." . • . 
*^ On the 7th September there was another, which threw 
down most of the buildings that were damaged on the 
29th of July ; and on the 13th December, one still 
more violenl^terminated the work of destruction." . . . 
^' Thte people had not well recovered from the conster- 
nation inflicted by the events of the fiiital 99th of July, 
when a meeting was convoked for the purpose of col- 
lecting the sense of the inhabitants on the subject of the 
removal." ... '^ In this meeting it was determined all 
the public authorities should remove provisionally to 
the little village of La Hermita, until the valleys of Ja- 
lapa and Las Vacas could be surveyed, and until the 
king's pleasure could be ascertained on the subject." . . . 
^^ On the 6th of September the governor and all the 
tribunals withdrew to La Hermita ; the surveys of tl^ 
last-mentioned places being completed, the inhabitants 
were again convoked, to decide upon the transfer. 
This congress was held in the temporary capital, and 
lasted from the 12th to the 16th of January, 1774 : the 

'tn tvciUBirTs or TftiTiiL- 

vepuil of-thjB ootmnii ri i dii tt fB' ws wtAf md| by > ph^ 
nUty of Toteify it was xMolTed to ante afontal tmw^ 
littion of the eity of GiMlilittllm totho VoBdy^of hm 
Yacas. The king gate his '■went 'to thit gairiirtida oa 
the 21st of Jolyi 1775; ^andyby a deoee of the Slit of 
Septeuibev foBowingi 'ap|tooyed itiiial or-the phBa. thiA 
were propoaedfor ^anying'tfae detenhJnatkin into efr 
ftet ^granfting-'veiy BbaMlly 'te 
from the coatomii in the apaoe of ten yeursy towaad 
the einrgea of taildiiig, -deft. In 'virtiie 0t tbm deoee, 
the' aynntamiento waa in'diie Ibnn eatabWied in the 
Vtiw feitnatioBtm the lit of Jannary, 1779;' and on the 
fl8%««f My, 1777, a pMolaaiatieii was iaaned in OU 
<laiilttoal«i eommmdlng Ae peyAaiion %b lemOfeii 
tile new eity wiihin one 'yeair, and totally dMumlon the 
feniaiaaoftheoUone.''> ' ' ' 

ftiek ia the aeooimt ghte %y Aa UMoriiatt 
mala eenoerning t&e deatnittidv cif 4iil«fil^;'-lieaidiia 
which, I aaMr on the apot Fidm Antonia^Cto^MiiMHa 
oetogenarian, and the oUhat ea*0Bdlg» infcflitihhtfai 
who was- li?n^; in the citf diving Ihe aaaHiqaahe wUah 
eeBDpleted iia deairootiiMk Be waa atiU ligoaow-ia 
frameand intelleot, wioie kia name with a free hlui 
in iny memorandani-book, and had Tivid modleotioaa 
of the apletidoar of tbecityinUibogfhoiiid^wliuvaa.lia 
-aaid, camagea rolled thioag^ it aa in the abeela of H^ 
dind. ' On the &tal day he waa in theOniichiof flea 
Fianeiaoo with two padrea, one oi whom, aft the mio^ 
ment of the shock, took him by the hand and hmried 
him into the patio ;. the other was buried under the ru^ 
ins of the church. He remembered that the tiles flew 
from the reefs of the houses in every direction ; the 
clouds of dust were suffocating, and the people ran to 
the fountains to quench their thirst. The fbuntaina 


were broken, and one man snatched off his hat to dip 
for water. The archbishop slept that night in his car- 
riage in the plaza. He described to me the ruins of in- 
dividual buildings, the dead who were dug from under 
them, and the confusion and terror of the inhabitants ; 
and though his recollections were only those of a boy, 
he had material enough for hours of conversation. 

In company with the cura we visited the interior of 
the Cathedral. The gigantic walls were standing, but 
roofless ; the interior was occupied as a burying- 
ground, and the graves were shaded by a forest of 
dahlias and trees seventy or eighty feet high, rising 
above the walls. The grand altar stood under a cnpo-- 
la supported by sixteen colunms faced with tortoise-* 
shell, and adorned with bronze medallions of exquisite 
workmanship. On the cornice were once placed stat* 
ues of the Virgin and the twelve apostles in ivory; 
but all these are gone ; and more interesting than the 
recollections of its ancient splendour or its mournful 
ruins was the empty vault where once reposed the 
ashes of Alvarado the Conqueror. 

Toward evening my young companion joined me, 
and we set out for Santa Maria, an Indian village at 
two leagues' distance, situated on the side of the Vol- 
cano de Agua, with the intention of ascending the 
next day to the summit. As we entered the valley, the 
scene was so beautiful I did not wonder that even earth- 
quakes could not make it desolate. At the distance of 
a league we reached the village of San Juan Obispo, 
the church and convent of which are conspicuous from 
below, and command a magnificent view of the valley 
and city of the Antigua. At dark we reached the vil- 
lage of Santa Maria, perched at a height of two thou- 
sand feet above the Antigua,^ and seven thousand feet 


above the level of the Paoifio. The cbivch stancb in m 
noble court with several gates, an4 befieie it is a gi* 
gantic white cross. We rode up to the. conventi whick 
is under the charge of the cura of San Juan ObiqK)^ 
but it was unoccupied, and there wai» no one to receive 
us except a little talkative old man^ who had only 9X^ 
rived that morning. Very soon th^ie was an irniptiojai 
of Indians, with the alcalde and his alguasils, who 
came to offer their services as guides np the mountain* 
They were the first Indians I bcid met who did not speak 
Spanish, and their eagerness and clamour reminded me 
of my old friends the Arabs* They lepres^ted the 
ascent as very steep, with dangerous precipices, and the 
path extremely difficult to find^ and said it was neces^ 
sary for each of us to have sixteen men with ropes to 
haul us up, and to pay twelve dollars for each manr 
They seemed a little astonished when I told Ihem that 
we wanted two men each, and would give them half n 
dollar apiece, but fell immediately to ei^t men for 
each, and a dollar apiece ; and, after a noisy wran« 
gling, we picked out six firom forty, and they all retired. 
In a few minutes we heard a violin out of doors, which 
we thought was in honour of us ; but it was for the little 
old man, who was a titritero or puppet-player, and in* 
tended giving an exhibition that night. The music 
entered the room, and a man stationed himself at th^ 
door to admit visiters. The price of admission wa^ 
three cents, and there were frequent wranglings to have 
one cent taken off, or two admitted for three cents. 
The high price preventing the entrance of common 
people, the company was very select, and all sat on 
the floor. The receipts, as I learned from the door- 
keeper, were upward of five shillings. Romaldi, who 
was a skilful amateur, led the orchestra, that is, the 


.- * 'Pfl«Ji^.V^V 

* -; 



Other fiddler. The puppet was in an adjoining room, 
and when the door opened it disclosed a black chamar 
hanging as a curtain, the rising of which discovered the 
puppet-player sitting at a table with his little figures 
before him. The sports of the puppets were carried 
on with yentriloquial conversations, in the midst of 
which I fell asleep. 

We did not get off till seven o'clock the next morn- 
ing. The day was very unpromising, and the whole 
mountain was covered with clouds. As yet the side 
of the volcano was cultivated. In half an hour the road 
became so steep and slippery that we dismounted, and 
commenced the ascent on foot. The Indians went on 
before, carrying water and provisions, and each of us 
was equipped with a strong staff. At a quarter before 
eight we entered the middle region, which is covered 
with a broad belt of thick forest ; the path was steep 
and muddy, and every three or four minutes we were 
obliged to stop and rest. At a quarter before nine we 
reached a clearing, in which stood a large wooden cross. 
This was the first resting-place, and we sat down at the 
foot of the cross and lunched. A drizzling rain had 
commenced, but, in the hope of a change, at half past 
nine we resumed our ascent. The path became steeper 
and muddier, the trees so thickly crowded together that 
the sun never found its way through them, and their 
branches and trunks covered with green excrescences. 
The path was made and kept open by Indians, who go 
up in the winter-time to procure snow and ice for Gua- 
timala. The labour of toiling up this muddy acclivity 
was excessive, and very soon my young companion be- 
came fatigued, and was unable to continue without 
help. The Indians were provided with ropes, one of 
which was tied around his waist, and two Indians went 

Vol. I. — M m 


before with the rope over the diouldere. At half paat 
tea we were above the region of forest, and came out 
upon the open side of the volcano. There were still 
scattering trees, long grass, and a great variety of cu- 
rious plants and flowers, furnishing rich materials for 
the botanist. Among them was a plant with a red 
flower, called the arbol de las manitas, or band*plant, 
but more like a monkey's paw, growing to the height 
of thirty or forty feet, the inside a light vermilion col- 
our, and outside vermilion with stripes of yellow. My 
companion, tired with the toil of ascending, even with 
the aid of the rope, at length mounted an Indian's 
shoulders. I was obliged to stop every two or three 
minutes, and my rests were about equal to the actual 
time of walking. The great difficulty was on account 
of the wet and mud, which, in ascending, made us lose 
part of every step* It was so slippery that, even with 
the staff*, and the assistance of branches of trees and 
bushes, it was difficult to keep firom falling. About 
half an hour before reaching the top, and perhaps one 
thousand or fifteen hundred feet from it, the trees be- 
came scarce, and seemed blasted by lightning or with- 
ered by cold. The clouds gathered thicker than before, 
and I lost all hope of a clear day. At half an hour be- 
fore twelve we reached the top and descended into the 
crater. A whirlwind of cloud and vapour was sweep- 
ing around it. We were in a perspiration ; our clothes 
were saturated with rain and mud ; and in a few mo- 
ments the cold penetrated our very bones. We attempt- 
ed to build a fire, but the sticks and leaves were wet, 
and would not burn. For a few moments we raised a 
feeble flame, and all crouched around it ; but a sprink- 
ling of rain came down, just enough to put it out. We 
could see nothing, and the shivering Indians begged me 


of Ciudad Vieja), this immense basin, probably the cra- 
ter of an extinct volcano, with sides much higher than 
they are now, became filled with water by accmnulations 
of snow and rain. There never was any eruption of wa- 
ter, but one of the sides gave way, and the immense body 
of fluid rushed out with horrific force, carrying with it 
rocks and trees, inundating and destroying all that op- 
posed its progress. The immense barranca or ravine 
by which it descended was still fearfully visible on the 
side of the mountain. The height of this mountain has 
been ascertained by barometrical observation to be four- 
teen thousand four hundred and fifty feet above the level 
of the sea. The edge of the crater commands a beau- 
tiful view of the old city of Guatimala, thirty-two sur- 
rounding villages, and the Pacific Ocean ; at least so 
I am told, but I saw nothing of it. Nevertheless, I did 
not regret my labour ; and though drenched with rain 
and plastered with mud, I promised myself in the month 
of February, when the weather is fine, to ascend again, 
prepared for the purpose, and pass two or three days in 
the crater. 

At one o'clock we began our descent. It was rapid, and 
sometimes dangerous, from the excessive steepness and 
slipperiness, and the chance of pitching head foremost 
against the trunk of a tree. At two o'clock we reach- 
ed the cross ; and I mention, as a hint for others, that, 
firom the pressure of heavy water-proof boots upon the 
doigis du piedj I was obliged to stop frequently; and, 
after changing the pressure by descending sidewise 
and backward, catching at the branches of trees, I was 
obliged to pull off my boots and go down barefooted, 
ankle deep in mud. My feet were severely bruised by 
the stones, and I could hardly walk at all, when I met 
one of the Indians pulling my horse up the mountain 


refireshing. With good goyernment and laws, and 
one^s friends around, I never saw a more beautiful spot 
on which man could desire to pass his allotted time on 

Resuming our ride, we came out upon a rich plain 
covered with grass, on which cattle and horses were 
pasturing, between the bases of the two great volca* 
noes ; and on the left, at a distance, on the side of the 
Volcano de Agua, saw the Church of Ciudad Vieja, 
the first capital of Guatimala, founded by Alvarado the 
Conqueror. I was now on classic ground. The £ame 
of CcNTtez and his exploits in Mexico spread among the 
Indian tribes to the south, and the Kachiquel kings 
sent an embassy offering to acknowledge themselves 
vassals of Spain. Cortez received the ambassadors 
with distinction, and sent Pedro de Alvarado, an offi* 
cer distinguished in the conquest of New Spain, to re« 
ceive the submission of the native kings, and take pos- 
session of Guatimala. On the thirteenth of Novem- 
ber, 1523, Alvarado left the city of Mexico with three 
hundred Spaniards, and a large body of Tlascaltecas, 
Cholotecas, Chinapas, and other auxiliary Mexican In- 
dians, fought his way through the populous provinces 
of Soconusco and Tonala, and on the fourteenth of 
May, by a decisive victory over the Q,uieh6 Indians, he 
arrived at the capital of the Kachiquel kingdom, now 
known as the village of Tecpan Guatimala. After re- 
maining a few days to recover from their fatigues, the 
conquering army continued their route by the villages 
on the coast, overcoming all that disputed their prog- 
ress ; and on the 24th of July, 1624, arrived at a place 
called by the Indians Almolonga, meaning, in their 
language, a spring of water (or the mountain from 
which water flows), situated at the base of the Volcano 

aMi^Bit* *l"i -.»*•» 


de Agua. The situation, sayis Remesal, pleased them 
to much by its fine climate^ the beauty of the meadows, 
di^ii^tfuUj watered by running streams, and particu- 
l&mr from its lying between two lofty mountains, from 
^tpat whkHk descended runs of water in every direc- 
jl^tiMy and from the sununit of the other issued volumes 
of smoke and fire, that they determined to build a city 
Which should be the capital of Guatimala. 

On the twenty-fifth of July, the festival of St James, 
the patron of Spain, the soldiers, with martial music, 
splendid armour, waving plumes, horses superbly cap 
parisoned in trappings glittering with jewels and plates 
of gold, proceeded to the humble church which had 
been constructed for that purpose, where Juan Godines, 
the chaplain to the army, said mass. The whole body 
invoked the protection of the apostle, and called by his 
name the city they had founded. On the same day Al* 
▼arado appointed alcaldes, regidors, and the chief al- 
guaziL The appearance of the country harmonised 
with the romantic scenes of which it had been the thea* 
tre ; and as I rode over the plain I could almost ima* 
gine the sides of the mountains covered with Indians, 
and Alvturado and his small band of daring Spaniards, 
soldiers and priests, with martial pride and religious 
humility, unfurling the banners of Spain and setting 
up the standard of the cross. 

As we approached the town its situation appeared 
more beautiful ; but very early in its history dreadful 
calamities befell it. '' In 1532 the vicinity of the city 
was ravaged, and the inhabitants thrown into conster- 
nation by a lion of uncommon magnitude and ferocity, 
that descended from the forests on the mountain called 
the Volcan de Agua, and conmiitted great devastation 
among the herds of cattle. A reward of twenty-five 


gold dollars, or one hundred busheb of wheat, was <rf- 
fered by the town council to any penon fliat could kill 
it ; but the animal escaped, even firom a geaenl hont- 
ing-party of the whole city, with AlTarado at the hnad 
of it. After five or six months' continual dgpredatidJBj 
he was killed on the thirtieth of July by a herdamaiiy . . 
who received the promised reward. The next great 
disaster was a fire that happened in February, 1536, 9 
and caused great injury ; as the houses were at that 
time nearly sdl thatched with straw, a large portion of 
them was destroyed before it could be extinguished. 
The accident originated in a blacksmith's shop ; and, to 
prevent similar misfortunes in future, the 'council pro- 
hibited the employment of forges within the city. 

^' The most dreadful calamity that had as yet afiUct* 
ed this unfortunate place occurred on the morning of 
September 11, 1541. It had rained incessantly, and 
with great violence, on the three preceding days, par- 
ticularly on the night of the tenth, when the water de- 
scended more like the torrent of a cataract than rain ; 
the fury of the wind, the incessant appalling lightning, 
and the dreadful thunder, were indescribable." ... '^ At 
two o'clock on the morning of the eleventh, the vibra- 
tions of the earth were so violent that the people were 
unable to stand; the shocks were accompanied by a 
terrible subterranean noise, which spread universal dis- 
may ; shortly afterward, an immense torrent of water 
rushed down from the summit of the mountain, forcing 
away with it enormous fragments of rocks and large 
trees, which, descending upon the ill-fated town, over- 
whelmed and destroyed almost all the houses, and bu- 
ried a great number of the inhabitants under the ruins ; 
among the many. Dona Beatrice de la Cueba, the widow 
of Pedro Alvarado, lost her life." 


• * 1 - 




All the way down the side of the volcano we saw the 
•earns and gullies made by the torrents of water which 
had inundated the city. Again we crossed the beauti* 
fill stream of El Bio Pensativo, and rode up to the con- 
vent It stands adjoining the gigantic and venerable 
"•v* church of the Virgin. In front was a high stone wall; 
a large gate opened into a courtyard, at the extremity 
^ and along the side of which were the spacious corridors 
of the convent, and on the left the gigantic wall of the 
church, with a door of entry from one end of the corri- 
dor. The patio vras sunk about four feet below the 
level of the corridor, and divided into parterres, with 
beds of flowers, and in the centre was a large white 
circular fountain, with goldfish swimming in it, and ri- 
sing out of it, above a jet d'eau, an angel with a trumpet 
and flag. 

Senor Vidaury had advised Padre Alcantra of my in- 
tended visit, and he was waiting to receive us. He 
was about thirty-three, intelligent, educated, and ener- 
getic, with a passion for flowers, as was shown by the 
beautiful arrangements of the courtyard. He had been 
banished by Morazan, and only returned to his curacy 
about a year before. On a visit to him was his friend 
and neighbour Don Pepe Astegueta, proprietor of a 
cochineal hacienda, and a man of the same stamp and 
character. They were among the few whom I met who 
took any interest in the romantic events connected 
with the early history of the country. After a brief 
rest in the convent, with a feeling more highly wrought 
than any that had been awakened in me except by the 
ruins of Copan, we visited a tree standing before the 
church and extending wide its branches, under whose 
shade, tradition says, Alvarado and his soldiers first en- 
camped ; the fountain of Almolonga, or, in the Indian 
Vol. I.— N n 


nguage, the mountain from which water flow8| which 
rst induced him to select this spot as the site for the 
ipital ; and the ruined cathedral, on the spot where 
lan Godines first said mass. The fountain is a large 
itural basin of clear and beautiful water, shaded by 
des, under which thirty or forty Indian women were 
ashing. The walls of the cathedral were standing, 
id in one corner was a chamber filled with the sculls ' 
id bones of those destroyed by the inundation from the 

After breakfast we visited the church, which was 
iry large, and more than two hundred years old ; its 
tar is rich in ornaments of gold and silver, among 
hich is a magnificent crown of gold, studded with dia- 
onds and emeralds, presented by one of the Philips to 
e Virgin, to whom the church was consecrated. Ke- 
rning to the house, I found that Padre Alcantra had 
epared for me a visit from a deputation of Indians, 
insisting of the principal chiefs and women, descend- 
its of caciques of the Mexican auxiliaries of Alvara- 
^, calling themselves, like the Spaniards, Conquista- 
ves, or Conquerors ; they entered, wearing the same 
etumes which their ancestors had worn in the time 

Cortez, and bearing on a salver covered with vel- 
t a precious book bound in red velvet, with silver 
rners and clasp, containing the written evidence 

their rank and rights. It was written on parch- 
3nt, dated in 1639, and contained the order of 
lilip the First, acknowledging them as conquerors, 
d exempting them, as such, from the tribute paid by 
e native Indians. This exemption continued until 
a revolution of 182o, and even yet they call them- 
Ives descendants of the conquerors, and the head of 
3 Indian aristocracy. The interest which I felt in ■ 


hanging from the branches. The road was merely a 
path through the forest^ formed by eottiiig away ahmba 
and branches. The freshness <^ the moming was de- 
lightful. We had descended from the table of land 
called the tierras templadas, and were now in the tier- 
ras callientes ; but at nine o'clock the glare and heat of 
the sun did not penetrate the thick shade of the woods. 
In some places the branches of the trees, trimmed by 
the machete of a passing muleteer, and hung with a 
drapery of vines and creepers, bearing red and purple 
flowers, formed for a long distance natural arches more 
beautiful than any ever fashioned by man ; and there 
were parrots and other birds of beautiful plumage flying 
among the trees; among them Guacamayas, or great 
macaws, large, clothed in red, yellow, and green, and 
when on the wing displaying a splendid plumage. But 
there were also vultures and scorpionS) and, running 
across the road and up the trees, innumerable iguanas 
or lizards, from an inch to three feet long. The road 
was a mere track among the trees, perfectly desolate, 
though twice we met muleteers bringing up goods from 
the port. At the distance of twelve miles we reached 
the hacienda of Narango, occupied by a major-domo, 
who looked after the cattle of the proprietor, roaming 
wild in the woods ; the house stood alone in the midst 
of a clearing, built of poles, with a cattle-yard in front ; 
and I spied a cow with a calf, which was a sign of milk* 
But you must catch a cow before you can milk her. 
The major-domo went out with a lazo, and, playing 
upon the chord of nature, caught the calf first, and then 
the cow, and hauled her up by the horns to a post. 
The hut had but one waccal, or drinking-shell, made 
of a gourd, and it was so small that we sat down by the 
cow so as not to lose much time. We had bread, ohoo* 

mi iftrii 


olate, and samagesy and, after a ride of twenty-four 
miles, made a glorious breakfast ; but we exhausted the 
poor cow, and I was ashamed to look the calf in the 

Besuming our journey, at a distance of nine miles we 
reached the solitary hacienda of Overo. The whole of 
this great plain was densely wooded and entirely un- 
cultivated, but the soil was rich, and capable of main- 
taining, with very little labour, thousands of people. 
Beyond Overo the country was <^n in places, and the 
sun beat down with scorching force. At one o'clock 
we crossed a rustic bridge, and through the opening in 
the trees saw the river Michetoya. We followed along 
its bank, and very soon heard breaking on the shore the 
waves of the great Southern Ocean. The sound was 
grand and solemn, giving a strong impression of the 
immensity of those waters, which had been rolling from 
the creation, for more than five thousand years, unknown 
to civilized man. I was loth to disturb the impression,* 
and rode slowly through the woods, listening in pro- 
found silence to the grandest music that ever fell upon 
my ear. The road terminated on the bank of the river, 
and I had crossed the Continent of America. 

On the opposite side was a long sandbar, with a 
flagstaff, two huts built of poles and thatched with 
leaves, and three sheds of the same rude construction ; 
and over the bar were seen the masts of a ship, riding 
on the Pacific. This was the port of Istapa. We 
shouted above the roar of the waves, and a man came 
down to the bank, and loosing a canoe, came over for 
us. In the mean time, the interest of the scene was 
somewhat broken by a severe assault of moschetoes and 
sandflies. The mules suffered as much as we ; but I 
could not take them across, and was obliged to tie them 

POET or I8TAPA* S89 

feared the result of the war, a change of administra- 
tion, and being turned out of office ! 

Toward evening, rested and refreshed, I walked out 
upon the shore. The port is an open roadstead, with- 
out bay, headland, rock, or reef, or anything whatever 
to distinguish it from the line of the coast. There is 
no light at night, and vessels at sea take their bearings 
from the' great volcanoes of the Antigua, more than six- 
ty miles inland. A buoy was anchored outside of the 
breakers, with a cable attached, and under the sheds 
were three large launches for embarking and disem- 
barking cargoes. The ship, which was from Bordeaux, 
lay off more than a mile ffoxa the shore. Her boat had 
landed the supercargo and passengers, since which she 
had had no communication with the land, and seemed 
proudly independent of so desolate a place. Behind 
the sandbar were a few Indian huts, and Indians nearly 
naked were sitting by me on the shore. Yet this deso- 
late place was once the focus of ambitious hopes, high 
aspirations, lust of power and gold, and romantic ad* 
venture. Hefe Alvarado fitted out his armament, and 
embarked with his followers to dispute with Pizarro 
the riches of Peru. The sun was sinking, and the red 
globe touched the ocean; clouds were visible on its 
&ce, and when it disappeared, ocean and land were il- 
luminated with a ruddy haze. I returned to the hut 
and threw myself into my hammock. Could it be that 
I was again so far from home, and that these were the 
waves of the great Southern Ocean breaking on my 


Vol. I.— O o 25 



The Retom.— Hunt for a Mule.— Orerc—Mangiia.— Eteointla.— Fdb of 9m 
Pwlio Martyr.— Bficbeioya Rirer.— VUlage of San Pedro.— A Major-domo.— 
San Ciittotal.— Amatitan.— A roring American.— Entry into GoadiDala.— Let- 
ter from Mr. Catherwood.— Chriitmaa Eto.— ArriTal of Mr. Catlierwood.— 
Plan de Toroa.— A BoUfigfat.— The Theatre.— Official Bnaineiif.— The Aria- 
teeracy of Onatimala.- State of the Conntty.— Newyear'a Day.— Ferodty of 

At three o'clock Romaldi woke me to set out on my 
return. The moonbeams were glancing over the wa- 
ter, and the canoe was ready. I bade iiarewell to my 
host as he lay in his hammock, and crossed the river. 
Here I found an unexpected difficulty. My spare mule 
had broken her halter, and was nowhere to be seen. 
We beat about among the woods till daylight, and 
concluding that she must have taken the only path open, 
and set out for home on her own account, we saddled 
and rode on to Overo, a distance of twenty miles. 
But no stray mule had passed the hacienda, and I stop- 
ped and sent Romaldi back to the port. 

Very soon I became tired of waiting at the miserable 
hacienda, saddled my mule, and started alone. The 
road was so shaded that I did not stop for the noonday 
heat. For twenty-one miles farther the road was per- 
fectly desolate, the only sound being occasicmally the 
crash of a falling tree. At the village of Masagua I 
rode up to a house, at which I saw a woman under the 
shed, and, unsaddling my mule, got her to send a man 
out to cut sacate, and to make me some chocolate. I 
was so pleased with my independence that I almost re- 
solved to travel altogether by myself, without servant 
or change of apparel. In half an hour I resumed my 


jonmniey. Toward sundown I met drunken Indians 
coming out from Escuintla, and, looking back over the 
great plain, saw the sun fast sinking into the Pacific 
Some time after dark I rode up to the house of the cor- 
regidor^ having performed in the two days a hundred 
and ten miles. Unfortunately, there was no sacate for 
my mule. This article is brought into the towns by 
the Indians daily, and every person buys just enough 
for the night, and no more. There was not a spare 
lock of grass in the place. With -a servant of the cor- 
regidor's I made an exploring expedition through the 
town, and by an affecting appeal to an old woman, en- 
forced by treble price, bought from under their very 
noses the portion of two mules, and left them supperless* 
I waited till two o'clock the next day for Romaldi 
and the mule, and, after a vain endeavour to procure a 
guide to the falls of San Pedro Martyr, set out alone 
direct for Guatimala. At the distance of two leagues, 
ascending a steep hill, I passed a trapiche or sugar- 
mill, in a magnificent situation, commanding a full 
view of the plain I had crossed and the ocean beyond. 
Two oxen were grinding sugarcane, and under a shed 
was a large boiling caldron for making panela, a brown 
sugar, in lumps of about two pounds each, an enor- 
mous quantity of which is consumed in the country. 
Here the humour seized me to make some inquiries 
about the falls of San Pedro Martyr. A man out at el- 
bows, and every other mentionable and unmentionable 
part of his body, glad to get rid of regular work, offered 
to conduct me. I had passed, a league back, the place 
where I ought to have turned off; and proceeding on- 
ward to the village of San Pedro, he turned off to the 
right, and went back almost in the same direction by a 
narrow path descending through thick woods choked 

lYciBBYTs ar 

Smr, wUdi I tad etomed ac EMipB* it 

$mA rtgkd, Ixeaidiia' wiidiy owr & tta^ bed^ wish 

hxtfii nKMBUaiiL 0a die flgpnaia^ adb Faflowin^ it^ 

ineiMd the gafgart, mmmm, of 

anteil bjr ipawoe nefcr P"'>'7 >Mwlrrf by 
mid p f^j ti ^prntdhaokmha^st^ ib i jl twoinmhediegty 
leMrnttngwitli diewiU taiiei ^ Jt q—d a unkmyand io» 
■wric Tjefr, A IMe betowrk ipctb a wigWHnill iwHk-> 
ed bjr water, and a» aBcommoaly ioe kadcnda, which 
eotianawied a liew cf the Uh, aod at which. I was 
▼erj modi ditp oa cd to pmm the aight. The iiiaiaa-<k>> 
mOf a Mack maiiy was lya w hai —iHJaiiT at my ^int; 
but wbea be learned that I did not cQOie to see tbe nill, 
but only the fgJb, he seemed to sospect that I was no 
better than I shoold be ; and when I asked him if I 
eoold reach San Cristond betee dark, he aaawoed 
that I eoald if I started immediately. This waa not 
exactly an inritation to stey, and I left him. It shown 
the want of curiosity and indcrfenee of the pec^ile, that, 
though these falls are bnt a pleasant afternoon's ride 
from Escnintla, which for two months is thronged with 
▼isiters from Ouatimala, nobody ever visits them. 

Hurrying back by the same wild path, we reached 
the main ready and, as it was late, I hired my guide to 
go on with me to San CristovaL We passed through 
the village of San Pedro, w:hich was a collection of 
miserable huts, with an estanco or place for the sale of 
ngua nrdicnto, and thronged with half-intoxicated In- 
dittnw. Ah wo advanced, clouds began to gather around 
th« rnountiiinH, nnd there was every appearance of heavy 
rain. I had no cloak or greatcoat, and, being particu- 
larly apprehensive of fevers and rheumatisms, after ri- 
<ling about u mile I returned to San Pedro. The most 


respectable citizens of the place were reeling round the 
estanco, and urged me to stop ; but my guide said they 
were a bad set, and advised me to return and pass the 
night at the sugar-mill. Presuming that be knew the 
people of whom he spoke better than I did, I -viras no 
way inclined to disregard his caution. It was after 
dark when we reached the trapiche ; some of the work* 
men were sitting around a fire smoking ; others were 
lying asleep under a shed, and I had but to 

** Look uonnd and choote my ground, 
And take mj mt.'* 

I inquired for the major-domo, and was escorted to 
a mud house, where in the dark I heard a harsh voice, 
and presently, by the light of a pine stick, saw an old 
and forbidding face corresponding, and by its side 
that of a young woman, so soft and sweet that it seem- 
ed to appear expressly for the sake of contrast ; and 
these two were one. I was disposed to pity her ; but 
the old major-domo was a noble fellow in heart, and 
she managed him so beautifully that he never suspect- 
ed it. He was about going to bed, but sent men out 
to cut sacate, and both he and his wife were pleased 
that accident had brought me to their hut. The work- 
men sympathized in their humour, and we sat for two 
hours around a large table under the shed, with two 
candles sticking up in their own tallow. They could 
not comprehend that I had been to the top of the Vol- 
cano de Agua, and then ridden down to the coast mere- 
ly to see the Pacific. A fine, open-faoed young man 
had a great desire to travel, only he did not like to go 
away from home. I offered to take him with me and 
give him good wages. The subject was discussed 
aloud. It was an awful thing to go away from home. 


as, though only twenty-five miles from it, the climate is 
80 different that they produce two crops in each season. 
Approaching the town, I remembered that Mr. Han- 
dy, who had travelled from the United States through 
Texas and Mexico with a caravan of wild animals, had 
told me in New- York of an American in his employ, 
who had left him at this place to take charge of a cochi- 
neal plantation, and I was curious to see how he looked 
and flourished in such employment. I had forgotten 
his name, but, inquiring on the road for an American 
del Norte, was directed to the nopal of which he had 
charge. It was one of the largest in the place, and con- 
tained four thousand plants. I rode up to a small build- 
ing in the middle of the plantation, which looked like a 
summer-house, and was surrounded by workmen, one of 
whom announced me as a '' Spaniard," as the Indians 
generally call foreigners. Dismounting and giving 
my mule to an Indian, I entered and found Don Hen- 
riques sitting at a table with an account-book before him, 
settling accounts with the workmen. He was dressed 
in the coton or jacket of the country, and had a very 
long beard; but I should have recognised him any- 
where as an American. I addressed him iH English, 
and he stared at me, as if startled by a familiar sound, 
and answered in Spanish. By degrees he comprehend- 
ed the matter. He was under thirty, from Rhinebeck 
Landing, on the Hudson River, where his father keeps 
a store, and his name was Henry Pawling ; had been a 
clerk in New- York, and then in Mexico. Induced by 
a large offer and a strong disposition to ramble and see 
the country, he accepted a proposal from Mr. Handy. 
His business was to go on before the caravan, hire a 
place, give notice, and make preparations for the exhi- 
bition of the animals. In this capacity he had travelled 


all over Mexico, and from thence to Guatimala. It was 
seven years since he left home, and since parting with 
Mr. Handy he had not spoken a word of his own lan- 
guage ; and as he spoke it now it was more than half 
Spanish. I need not say that he was glad to see me. 
He conducted me over the plantation, and explained the 
details of the curious process of making cochineal. He 
was somewhat disappointed in his expectations, and 
spoke with great feeling of home ; but when I o£fered to 
forward letters, said he had resolved never to write to 
his parents again, nor to inform them of his existence 
until he retrieved his fortunes, and saw a prospect of re- 
turning rich. He accompanied me into the town of 
Amatitan ; and as it was late, and I expected to return 
to that place, I did not visit the lake, but continued di- 
rect for Guatimala. 

The road lay across a plain, with a high, precipitous, 
and verdant wall on the left. At a distance of a league 
we ascended a steep hill to the table-land of Guatimala. 
I regret that I cannot communicate to the reader the 
highest pleasure of my journey in Central America, that 
derived from the extraordinary beauty of scenery con- 
stantly changing. At the time I thought this the most 
delightful ride I had had in the country. On the way I 
overtook a man and his wife on horseback, he with a 
game-cock under his arm, and she with a guitar ; a little 
boy was hidden away among bedding on a luggage- 
mule, and four lads were with them on foot, each with 
a game-cock wrapped in matting, with the head and tail 
only visible. They were going to Guatimala to pass 
the Christmas holydays, and with this respectable party 
I entered the gate of the city, on the eighth day after 
my departure. I found a letter from Mr. Catherwood, 
dated at Esquipulas, advising me that he had been rob- 


bed bj his servant, taken ill, had left the ruins, gone to 
Don Gregorio's, and was then on his journey to Guati- 
mala* My messenger had passed through Copan, and 
gone on he did not know where. I was in great dis- 
tress, and resolved, after a day's rest, to set off in search 
of him* 

I dressed myself and went to a party at Senor Zeba- 
dours, formerly minister to England, where I surprised 
the Guatimaltecos by the tour I had made, and particu- 
larly by having come alone from Istapa. Here I met 
Mr. Chatfield, her Britannic majesty's consul general, 
and Mr. Skinner, who had arrived during my absence. 
It was Christmas Eve, the night of El Nascimiento, or 
birth of Christ. At one end of the sala was a raised 
platform, with a green floor, and decorated with branch- 
es of pine and cypress, having birds sitting upon them, 
and looking-glass, and sandpaper, and figures of men 
and animals, representing a rural scene, with an arbour, 
and a wax doll in a cradle ; in short, the grotto of Beth- 
lehem and the in&nt Saviour. Always, at this season 
of the year, every house in Guatimala has its nascimi- 
ento, according to the wealth and taste of the proprietor, 
and in time of peace the figure of the Saviour is adorned 
with family jewels, pearls, and precious stones, and at 
night every house is open, and the citizens, without ao* 
quaintance or invitation, or distinction of rank or per- 
sons, go from house to house visiting ; and the week of 
El Nascimiento is the gayest in the year ; but, unfortu- 
nately, at this time it was observed only in form; the 
state of the city was too uncertain to permit general 
opening of houses and running in the streets at night. 
Carrera's soldiers might enter. 

The party was small, but consisted of the 6lite of 
Guatimala, and commenced with supper, after which 

Vol. I.— P p 


feet the spectators, astride which sat Carrera's disor- 
derly soldiers to keep order. At one end, underneath 
the corridor, was a large door, through which the bull 
was to be let in. At the other end, separated by a par- 
tition from the part occupied by the rest of the ^pecta^ 
tors, was a large box, empty, formerly intended for the 
captain general and other principal officers of govern- 
ment, and now reserved for Carrera. Underneath was 
a military band, composed mostly of Indians. Notwith- 
standing the collection of people, and the expectation 
of an animating sport, there was no clapping or stamp- 
ing, or other expression of impatience and anxiety for 
the performance to begin. At length Carrera entered 
the captain general's box, dressed in a badly-fitting 
blue military firock-coat, embroidered with gold, and at- 
tended by Monte Rosa and other officers, richly dressed, 
the alcalde and members of the municipality. All eyes 
were turned toward him, as when a king or emperor 
enters his box at the theatre in Europe. A year before 
he was hunted among the mountains, under a reyrard 
for his body, ^^ dead or alive," and nine tenths of those 
who now looked upon him would then have shut the 
city against him as a robber, murderer, and outcast. 

Soon after the matadores entered, eight in number, 
mounted, and each carrying a lance and a red poncha ; 
they galloped round the area, and stopped with their 
lances opposite the door at which the bull was to enter. 
The door was pulled open by a padre, a great cattle- 
proprietor, who owned the bulls of the day, and the an- 
imal rushed out into the area, kicking up his heels as if 
in play, but at sight of the line of horsemen and lances 
turned about and ran back quicker than he entered. 
The padre's bull was an ox, and, like a sensible beast, 
would rather run than fight ; but the door was closed 


soene of any ; but altogether it was a puerile exhibi- 
tion, and the better classes, among whom was my fair 
eountrywoman, regarded it merely as an occasion for 
meeting acquaintances. 

In the evening we went to the theatre, -urhich opened 
for the first time. A large building had been com« 
menced in the city, but in one of the revolutions it had 
been demolished, and the work was abandoned. Tha 
performance was in the courtyard of a house. The 
stage was erected across one of the comers ; the patio 
was -the pit, and the corridor was divided by temporary 
partitions into boxes ; the audience sent beforehand, or 
servants brought with them, their own seats. We had 
invitations to \he box of Senor Vidaury. Carrera was 
there, sitting on a bench a little elevated against the 
wall of the house, and at the right hand of Rivera Paz^ 
the chief of the state. Some of his officers were with 
him in their showy uniforms, but he had laid his aside, 
and had on his black bombazet jacket and pantaloons, 
and was very unpretending in his deportment. I con- 
sidered him the greatest man in Guatimala, and made 
it a point to shake hands with him in passing. The 
first piece was Saide, a tragedy. The company con- 
sisted entirely of Guatimaltecos, and their performance 
was very good. There was no change of scenery; 
when the curtain fell, all lighted cigars, ladies included, 
and, fortunately, there was an open courtyard for the 
escape of the smoke. When the performance was over, 
the boxes waited till the pit was emptied. Special care 
had been taken in placing sentinels, and all went home 

During the week there was an attempt at gayety, but 
all was more or less blended with religious solemnities. 
One was that of the Novena, or term of nine days' 


OrriCIAL BU8INB88. 808 

fend themi and could not defend themselves. At all 


events, I had as yet heard only one side, and did not 
consider myself justified in assuming that there was no 
government. I was bound to make ^^ diligent search," 
and then I might return, in legal phrase, ^' cepi corpus," 
or '^non est inventus," according to circumstances. 

For this purpose I determined to go to San Salvador, 
which was formerly, and still claimed to be, the capital 
of the Confederation and the seat of the Federal Gov- 
ernment, or, rather, to Cojutepeque, to which place the 
government had been then lately transferred, on account 
of earthquakes at San Salvador. This project was not 
without its difficulties. One Rascon, with an insurgent 
and predatory band, occupied an intervening district of 
country, acknowledging neither party, and fighting un^ 
der his own flag. Mr. Chatfield and Mr. Skinner had 
come by sea, a circuitous route, to avoid him, and Cap- 
tain De Nouvelle, master of a French ship lying at \he 
port of San Salvador, arrived in Guatimala almost on 
a run, having ridden sixty miles the last day over a 
mountainous country, who reported horrible atrocities, 
and three men murdered near San Vicente, on their 
way to the fair at Esquipulas, and their faces so disfig- 
ured that they could not be recognised. Immediately 
on his arrival he sent a courier to order his ship up to 
Istapa, merely to take him back, and save him from re<* 
turning by land. I had signified my intention to the 
state government, which was dissatisfied with my going 
to San Salvador at all, but ofTi^red me an escort of sol^ 
diers, suggesting, however, that if we met any of Mora-» 
zan's there would certainly be a fight. This was not 
at all pleasant. I was loth to travel a third time the 
road to Istapa, but, under the circumstances, accepted 


Captain ]>e Nomreile's iiiTitation to take a pasnge iak 
his ship. 

Meanwhile I passed my time in social Tinting. In 
our own city the aristocracy is called by the diplomatio 
corps at Washington the aristocracy of streets. In 
Guatimala it is tint aristocracy of houses, as certain 
£unilies live in the houses bniU by their £iUhers at the 
foundation of the city, and they are really aristocralie 
old mansions. These fiunilieSi by reason of certain mo- 
nopolies of importation, acquired under the ^mnish do- 
minion immense wealth and rank as ^' merchant prin« 
ees." Still they were excluded from all oflKces and aU 
part in the government. At the time of the revolution 
one of these fiunilies was noUe, with the rank of mar- 
qmsate, and its head tore off the insignia of his rank, 
and joined the revolutionary party. Next in position 
to the officers of the crown, they thought that, emanci- 
pated from the yoke of Spain, they would have the 
government in their own hands; and so they had, 
but it was only for a diort time. The principles of 
equal rights began to be understood, and they were 
put aside. For ten years they had been in obscurity, 
but accidentally they were again in power, and at the 
time of my visit ruled ii^ social as well as political 
Ufe. I do not wish to speak harshly of them, for they 
were the only people who constituted society ; my in- 
tercourse was almost exclusively with them; my fair 
coimtrywoman was one of them; I am indebted to 
them for much kindness ; and, besides, they are person- 
ally amiable ; but I speak of ihem as public men. I 
did not sympathize with them in politics. 

To me the position of the country seemed most crit- 
ical, and from a cause which in all Spanish America had 
never operated before. At the time of the first invasion 

8TATB or THE COUNTRY. ' 806 

a few hundred Spuiiards, by superior bravery and skiU^ 
and with more formidable arms, had conquered the 
whole Indian population. Naturally peaceable, and 
kept without arms, the conquered people had remained 
quiet and submissive during the three centuries of Span* 
ish dominion. In the civil wars following the independ- 
ence they had borne but a subordinate part ; and down 
to the time of Carrera's rising they were entirely igno* 
rant of their own physical strength. But this fearful 
discovery had now been made. The Indians constitu-* 
ted three fourths of the inhabitants of Guatimala ; were 
the hereditary owners of the soil ; for the first time since 
they fell under the dominion of the whites, were organ* 
ized and armed under a chief of their own, who chose 
for the moment to sustain the Central party. I did 
not sympathize with that party, for I believed that 
in their hatred of the Liberals they were courting a 
third power that might destroy them both ; consorting 
with a wild animal which might at any moment turn 
and rend them in pieces, I believed that they were 
playing upon the ignorance and prejudices of the In** 
dians, and, through the priests, upon their religious 
fanaticism ; amusing them with fites and Church cere- 
monies, persuading them that the Liberals aimed at a 
demolition of churches, d^truction of the priests, and 
hurrying back the country into darkness ; and in the 
general heaving of the elements there was not a man 
of nerve enough among them, with the influence of 
name and station, to rally round him the strong and 
honest men of the country, reorganize the shattered re- 
public, and save them from the disgrace and danger of 
truckling to an ignorant uneducated Indian boy. 

Such were my sentiments ; of course I avoided ex- 
pressing them ; but because I did not denounce their 

Vol. I. — Qq 


opponeiits, sonae looked coldly upon me. With thexA 
political differences serered all ties. Our worst party 
abuse is moderate and mild compared with the terms ia 
which they apeak of each other. We seldom do more 
than call men ignorant, incompetent, dishonest, diahoiH 
ourable, false, corrupt, subrerters of the Constitution, 
and bought with British gold ; there a political oppo>- 
nent is a robber, an assassin ; it is praise to admit that 
he is not a bloodthirsty cutthroat. We complain that 
our ears are constantly offended and our passions rous* 
ed by angry political discussions. There it would have 
been delightful to hear a good, honest, hot, and angiy 
political dispute. I travelled in every state, and I nev- 
er heard one ; for I never met two men together who 
differed in political opinions. Defeated partisans are 
shot, banished, run away, or get a moral lockjaw, and 
never dare express their opinions before one of the dom* 
inant party. We have just passed through a violent 
political struggle ; twenty millions of people have been 
divided almost man to man, friend against friend, 
neighbour against neighbour, brother against brother, 
and son againdt father ; besides honest differences of 
opinion, ambition, want, and lust of power and office 
have roused passions sometimes to fierceness. Two 
millions of men highly excited have spoken out their 
thoughts and sentiments fearlessly and openly. They 
have all been counted, and the first rule in arithme- 
tic has decided between them ; and the defeated party- 
are still permitted to live in the country ; their wives ^ 
and children are spared; nay, more, they may gram- 
ble in the streets, and hang out their banners pf de« 
fiance, of continued and determined opposition: and, 
more than all, the pillars of the republic are not sha- 
ken ! Among a milli(ni of disappointed men, never^ 


irilh all the infinnities of human pasBioii, has one breath- 
ed resistance to the Constitution and laws. The world 
has never presented such a spectacle, such a proof of 
the capai^^ of the people for self-government. Long 
may it continue ! May the tongue wither that dares 
preach resistance to the ballot-boxes; and may the 
mcHral influence of our example reach our distracted 
siiter republics, staying the sword of persecution in the 
hands of victors, and crushing the spirit of revolution 
in a defeated party. 

January 1, 1840. This day, so full of home asso- 
ciations — snow, and red noses, and blue lips out of 
doors, and blazing fires and beauteous faces within—- 
opened in Guatimala like a morning in spring. The 
sun seemed rejoicing in the beauty of the land it shone 
upon. The flowers were blooming in the courtyards, 
and the mountains, visible above the tops of the houses^ 
were smiling in verdure. The bells of thirty-eif^t 
ohurches and convents proclaimed the coming of an- 
other year. The shops were shut as on a Sunday; 
there was no market in the plaza. Gentlemen well 
dressed, and ladies in black mantas, were crossing it to 
attend grand mass in the Cathedral. Mozart's music 
swelled through the aisles. A priest in a strange tongue 
proclaimed morality, religion, and love of country. The 
floor of the church was thronged with whites, Mestit^ 
zoes, and Indians. On a high bench opposite the pul- 
pit sat the chief of the state, and by his side Carrera, 
again dressed in his rich uniform. I leaned against a pil- 
lar opposite and watched his face ; and if I read him 
right, he had forgotten war and the stains of blood upon / 
his hands, and his very soul was filled with fanatic en- 
thusiasm; exactly as the priests would have him. I did 
verily believe that he was honest in his impulses, ^and 


would do right if he knew how. They who undertake 
to guide him have a fearful responsibility. The service 
ended, a way was cleared through the crowd. Carrera, 
accompanied by the priests and the chief of the state, 
awkward in his movements, with his eyes fixed on the 
ground, or with furtive glances, as if ill at ease in being 
an objcQt of so much attention, walked down the amle. 
A thousand ferocious-looking soldiers were drawn up 
before the door. A wild burst of music greeted hinii 
and the faces of the men glowed with devotion to their 
chief. A broad banner was unfurled, with stripes of 
black and red, a device gf a death's head and legs in 
the centre, and on one side the words ^^ Viva la reli- 
gion !" and on the other ^^Paz o muerte a los Liber* 
ales !" Carrera placed himself at their head, and with 
Rivera Paz by his side, and the fearful banner float- 
ing in the air, and wild and thnlling music, and the 
stillness of death around, they escorted the chief of the 
state to lus house. How different from Newyear's Day 
at home ! 

Fanatic as I knew the people to be in religion, and 
violent in political animosities, I did not believe that such 
an outrage would be countenanced as flaunting in the 
plaza of the capital a banner linking together the support 
of religion and the death or submission of the Liberal 
party. Afterward, in a conversation with the chief of 
the state, I referred to this bannerl He had not noticed 
it, but thought that the last clause was *^ Paz b muerte 
a los qui no lo quierorij^^ "to those who do not wish it.'* 
This does not alter its atrocious character, and only 
adds to fanaticism what it takes from party spirit. I 
think, however, that I am right ; for on the return of the 
soldiers to the plaza, Mr. C. and I followed it, till, as 
we thought, the standard-bearer contracted its folds ex- 



pressly to hide it, and some of the officers looked at us 
80 suspiciously that we withdrew. 

For the sake of home associationsy I called on my fair 
countrywoman ; dined at Mr. Hall's, and in the afternoon 
went to the cockpit, a large circular bmlding handsomely 
proportioned, with a high seat for the judges, who rang 
a bell as a signal for the fight, when commenced a clam- 
our : " I offer five dollars !" " I offer twenty," &c. ; 
and I am happy to say that in this crowded den I saw 
but one man whom I had ever seen before ; firom there 
I went to the bullfight, and then to the theatre. The 
reader will admit that I made a brilliant beginning to 
the year 1840. 




Hunt for a Gorenment.— Diplomatic Diflkoltiaa.— Depaitore from Onatimala. 
— Lake of Amatitan.— Attack of Fever and Afae.~OTeta— latapa.— A French 
Merchant Ship.— Port of Acajntla.— Illneoa.— Zooxooate.— The Oovermneai 
fimnd.— Tiait to the Volcano of Ixalca— Conraa of the SrapCiooa.— Deoceni 
from the Volcano. 

On Sunday, the fifth of January, I roee to set out in 
search of a government. Don Manuel Pavon, with his 
usual kindness, brought me a packet of letters of intro- 
duction to his friends in San Salvador. Mr. Gather wood 
intended to accompany me to the Pacific. We had not 
packed up, the muleteer had not made his appearance, 
and my passport had not been sent. Captain De Nou- 
velle waited till nine o'clock, and then went on in ad- 
vance. In the midst of my confusion I received a visit 
from a distinguished canonigo. The reverend prelate 
was surprised at my setting out on that day. I was about 
pleading my necessities as an excuse for travelling on 
the Sabbath ; but he relieved me by adding that there 
was to be a dinner-party, a bullfight, and a play, and 
he wondered that I could resist such temptations. At 
eleven o'clock the muleteer came, with his mules, his 
wife, and a ragged little son ; and Mr. Savage, who was 
always my help through the little vexations attendant 
upon doing anything in that country, as well as in more 
important matters, returned from the Government House 
with word that my passport had been sent to me. I 
knew that the government was displeased with my pur- 
pose of going to the capitol. The night before it had 
been currently reported that I intended to present my 
credentials at San Salvador, and recognise the exist- 
ence of the Federal Government ; newspapers received 


the same night by the courier from Mexico were bur- 
dened with accounts of an invasion of that country by 
the Texans. I had before received a piece of infor- 
mation that was mew to me, and of which it was con- 
mdered diplomatic that I should profess ignorance, viz., 
that, though not so avowed, the Texans were support- 
ed and urged on by the government of the United 
States. We were considered as bent upon the con- 
quest of Mexico; and, of course, Guatimala would 
oome next. The odium of our ambitious pretensions 
intereased the feeling of coldness and distrust toward 
me, arising from my not having attached myself to the 
dominant party. In^neral I was considered as the 
successor of Mr. De Witt. It was known among poli- 
ticians that proceedings were pending for the renewal 
of a treaty, and that our government had a clakn for 
the destruction of property of our citizens in one of the 
revolutions of the country; but. some imagined th&t the 
wpecial object of my mission was very deep, and in fa- 
vour of the party at San Salvador. When Mr. Savage 
returned without any passport, suspecting that there 
was an intention to embarrass me and make me lose 
the opportunity of going by sea, I went immediately to 
the Government House, where I received the same an- 
swer that had been given to Mr. Savage. I requested 
another, but the secretary of state objected, on the 
ground that none could be made out on that day. 
There were several clerks in the office, and I urged 
my pressing necessity, the actual departure of Captain 
De Nouvelle, my seasonable application, and the prom- 
ise that it should be sent to my house. After an un- 
pleasant parley, one was given me, but without assign- 
ing me any official character. I pointed out the omis- 
sion, and the secretary said that I had not presented 


my credentials. I answered that my credentials wera 
to the general goyemment, and not to that of the State 
of Guatimala, which alone he represented ; but he per^ 
sisted that it was not the custom of Jhis government to 
recognise an official character unless he presented Idi 
credentials. His government had been in ezistenca 
about six months, and during that time no person 
claiming to be official had been near the country. I 
put into his hands my passport firom my own govern* 
ment, reminded him that I had been arrested and im- 
prisoned once, assured him that I should at all evebta 
set out for San Salvador, and wished to know definitive- 
ly whether he would give me such a passport as I had 
a right to ask for. After much hesitation, and with a 
very bad grace, he interlined before the official tide the 
words con el carader. I make great allowance for party 
feeling in a country where political divisions are matters 
of life and death, more particularly for Don Joaquim 
Durand, whose brother, a priest, was shot a short time 
before by the Morazan party ; but this attempt to embar- 
rass my movements, by depriving me of the benefit of of- 
ficial character, excited a feeling of indignation which I 
did not attempt to conceal. To refuse accepting the pass- 
port altogether, or to wait a day for remonstrance, would 
cause me* to lose my passage by sea, and make it ne- 
cessary to undertake a dangerous journey by land, or 
abandon going to the capitol ; which, I believe, was 
precisely what was wished. I was resolved not to be 
prevented by any indirect means. I only needed a 
passport to the port — the best they could give I did not 
value very highly — in San Salvador it would be utter- 
ly worthless ; and with the uncourteous paper thus un- 
graciously bestowed, I returned to the house, and at 


two o^dock we started* It was the hottest hour of the 
daj) and when we passed the gate the stm was scorch- 
iiqf. Late as it was, our muleteer htiid not finished his 
leave-taking. His wife and little son accompanied him ; 
and at some distance outside we were obliged to stop 
in the hot sun and wait till they came up. We were 
ejctremely glad when they exchanged their last em- 
braces, and the wife and son turned off for their home 
in Mixco. 

Notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, we divert 
ged from the regular road for the purpose of passing 
by the Lake . of Amatitan, but it was dark when we 
reached the top of the high range of mountains whidh 
bounds that beautiful water. Looking down, it s^edi- 
ed like a gathering of fog in the bottom of a deep yal> 
ley. The descent was by a rough sigzag path on the 
side of the mountain, rery steep, and, in tht extreme 
darkness, difficult and dangerous. We felt happy when 
We reached the bank of the lake, though still a little 
above it. The mountains rose round it like a wall, and 
cast over it a gloom deeper than the shade of night. 
We rode for some distance with the lake on our Ieft| 
and a hi^ and perpendicular mountain-side on out 
right. A cold wind had succeeded the intense heat ci 
the day, and when we reached Amatitan I was perfeotly^ 
chilled. We found the captain in the house he had- io- 
dicated. It was nine o'clock, and, not having touched 
anything since seven in the morning, we were prepared 
to do justice to the supper he had provided for us. 

To avoid the steep descent to the lake with the car- 
go-mules, our muleteer had picked up a guide for us 
ott the road, and gone on himself direct ; but, to our 
surprise, he had not yet arrived. While at supper we 

Vol. I.— R r 27 


heard an uproar in the street, and a man ran in to tell 
us that a mob was murdering our muleteer. The cap- 
tain, a frequent visiter to the country, said it was prob- 
ably a general machete fight, and cautioned us against 
going out. While in the corridor, he9itating, the up- 
roar was hurrying toward us ; the gate burst open, and 
a crowd rushed in, dragging with them our muleteer, 
that respectable husband and father, with his machete 
drawn, and so tipsy that he could hardly stand, but 
wanted to fight all the world. With difficulty we got 
him entangled among some saddle-gear, when he drop- 
ped down, and, after vain efforts to rise, fell asleep. 

I woke the next morning with violent headache and 
pain in all my bones. Nevertheless, we started at day- 
light, and rode till five o'clock. The sun and heat in- 
creased the pain in my head, and for three hours before 
reaching Escuintla I was in great suffering. I avoid- 
ed going to the corregidor's, for I knew that his sleep- 
ing apartment was open to all who came, and I wanted 
quiet ; but I made a great mistake in stopping at the 
house of the captain's friend. He was the proprietor 
of an estanco or distillery for making agua ardiente^ 
fthd gave us a large room directly back of a store, and 
separated from it by a low board partition open over ' 
the top ; and this store was constantly filled with noisy , 
wrangling, and drinking men and women. My bed 
was next to the partition, and we had eight or ten mea 
in our room. All night I had a violent fever, and in 
the morning I was unable to move. Captain De Nou- 
Telle regretted it, but he could not wait, as his ship was 
ready to lie off and on without coming to anchor. Mr. 
Catherwood had me removed to a storeroom filled with 
casks and demijohns, where, except from occasional 


entries to draw off liquor, I was quiet ; bat the odoiBr 
was sickening. 

In the afternoon the fever left me, and we rode to 
Masaya, a level and shady road of four leagues, and, 
to our surprise and great satisfaction, found the eap» 
tain at the house at which I had stopped on my returh 
from Istapa. He had advanced two leagues beyond, 
when he heard of a band of robbers at some distance 
farther on, and returned to wait for company, sendmg, 
in the mean time, to Escuintla for a guard of soldiers. 
We afterward learned that they were a body of exiles 
who had been expelled from Guatimala, and were cross- 
ing from Quezaltenango to Ban Salvador ; but, being 
in desperate circumstances, they were dangerous per« 
sons to meet on the road. 

The hut at which we stopped was hardly large 
enough for the family that occupied it, and our luggage, 
with two hammocks and a cartaret, drove them into a 
very small space. Crying children are said to be 
healthy ; if so, the good woman of the house was bless* 
ed : besides this, a hen was hatching a brood of chick* 
ens under my head. During the night a party of soI« 
diers entered the village, in piursuance of the captain'4 
requisition, and passed on to clear the road. We start* 
ed before daylight ; but as the sun rose my fever re- 
turned, and at eleven o'clock, when we reached Overo^ 
I could go no farther. 

I have before remarked that this hacienda is a great 
stopping-place from Istapa and the salt-works ; and un- 
fortunately for me, several parties of muleteers, in ap- 
prehension of the robbers, had joined together, and 
starting at midnight, had already finished their day's 
labour. In the afternoon a wild boar was hunted, 
which our muleteer, with my gun, killed. There was 


n great feast in oooking and eating him, and the noiee 
tacked my brain. Night brought no relief. Quiet was 
all I wanted) but that it seemed impoeeible to have ; be- 
jndes which, the rancho was more than usually abundant 
JA fleas. AU night I had violent fever. Mr. Cathei^ 
wood| who, from not killing any one at Copan, had con- 
eeived a great opinion of his medical ekill, gave me a 
powerful dose of medicinei and toward moniing I fell 

At daylight we started, and arrived at Istapa at nine 
o'clock. Captain De Nouvelle had not yet gone on 
board. Two French ships were then lying off the port : 
the Belle Poule and the Melanie, both firbm Bordeaux, 
the latter being the vessel of Captain De Nouvelle. He 
had accounts to arrange with the c^tain of the Belle 
Poule, and we started first for his vessel. 

I have before remarked that Istapa is an open road- 
ptead, without bay, headland, rock, reef, or any protec- 
tion whatever from the open sea. Generally the sea is, 
as its name imports, pacific, and the waves roll calmly 
to the shore; but in the smoothest times there is a 
breaker, and to pass this, as a part of the fixtures of the 
port, an anchor is dropped outside, with a buoy attach* 
ed, and a long cable passing from the buoy is secured 
on shore. The longboat of the Melanie lay hard 
ashore, stem first, with a cable run through a groove in 
the bows, and passing through the sculUng-hole in the 
stem. She was filled with goods, and among them we 
took our seats. The mate sat in the stem, and, taking 
advantage of a wave that raised the bo\vs, gave the 
order to haul. The wet rope whizzed past, and the 
boat moved till, with the receding wave, it struck heav-^ 
ily on the sand. Another wave and another haul, and 
she swung clear of the bottom ; and meeting the coming. 


«nd hauling fast on the receding xrave, in a few mill* 
utes we passed the breakers, the rope was thrown out 
of the groove, and the sailors took to their oars. 

It was. one of the most beantifol of those beautiful 
days on the Pacific. The great ocean was as calm as 
a lake; the freshness of the morning still rested upon 
the water, and already I felt revived. In a few min- 
utes we reached the Belle Poule, one of the most beaiK 
tiful ships that ever floated, and considered a model in 
the French commercial marine. The whole deck was 
covered with an awning, having a border trimmed with 
scarlet, and fluttering in the wind. The quarter-deck 
was raised, protected by a fanciful awning, furnished 
with settees, couches, and chairs, and on a brass railing 
in front sat two beautiful Peruvian parrots. The docnr 
of the cabin was high enough to admit a tall man witfa^ 
out stooping. On each side were four staterooms, and 
the stem was divided into two chambers for the captain 
and supercargo, each with a window in it, and furnish- 
ed with a bed (not a berth), a sofa, books, drawers^ 
writing-desk, everything necessary for luxurious living 
on shipboard ; just the comforts with which one would 
like to circumnavigate the world. She was on a tra- 
ding voyage (torn Bordeaux, with an assorted cargo of 
French goods ; had touched at the ports in Peru, Chil},^ 
Panama, and Central America, and left at each place 
merchandise to be sold, and the proceeds to be invested 
in the products of the country ; and was then bound to 
Mazatlan, on the coast of Mexico, whence she would 
return and pick up her cargo, and in two years return 
to Bordeaux. We had a dejeuner h la fourchette, 
abounding in Paris luxuries, with wines and cafe, as 
in Paris, to which, fortunately for the ship's stores, I did 
Bot bring my accustomed vigour ; and there was style ia 



spoke to me of the deeehfnlneflB of the sea, of ship* 
wrecks^ of the wreck of an American vessel which he 
had fallen in with on his first cruise in the Pacific, and 
of his beantifnl and beloved France. The freshness of 
the air was gratefnl; and while he was entertaining niei 
I stretched myself on a settee and fell asleep. 

The next day I had a recurrence of fever, which 
continued upon me all day, and the captain put me un« 
der ship's discipline. In the morning the maitre d'h6tel 
stood by me with cup and qpoon, ^* Monsieur, un vom* 
itif,'* and in the afternoon, ** Monsieur, une purge." 
When we arrived at Acajutla I was unable to go 
ashore. As soon as we cast anchor the captain land« 
ed, and before leaving for Zonzonate engaged mules 
and men for me. The port of Acajutla is not quite so 
open as that of Istapa, having on the south a riight 
projecting headland of rock. In the offing were a 
goelette brig for a port in Peru, a Banish schooner for 
Ouayaquil, and an English brig firom London. AU the 
afternoon I sat on the upper deck. Some of the sailors 
were asleep and others playing cards. In sight were 
six volcanoes ; one constantly emitting smoke, and an* 
other flames. At night the Volcano of Izaloo seemed a 
steady ball of fire. 

The next mcnming the mate took me ashore in the 
launch. The process was the same as at Istapa, and 
we were detained some time by the boat of the English 
vessel occupying the cable. As soon as we struck, a 
crowd of Indians, naked except a band of cotton cloth 
around the loins and passing between the legs, backed 
up against the side of the boat. I mounted the shoul- 
ders of one of them ; as the wave receded he carried 
me- several paces (mward, then stopped and braced 
himself against the coming wave. I clung to his neck^ 


but was fast sliding down his slippery sides, when bm 
deposited me on the shore of Ban Salvador, ealled bj 
the Indians '* Cuscatlan,'' or the land of riches. Alva- 
rado, on his voyage to Pern, was the first Spaniard 
who ever set foot upon this shore, and as I took special 
care to keep my feet trom getting wet, I could but think 
of the hardy frames as well as iron n&rres of the con* 
querors of America. 

The mate and sailors took leave of me and returned 
to the ship. I walked along the shore and up a steep 
hill. It was only eight o'clock, and already excessively 
hot. On the bank fronting the sea were the ruins of 
large warehouses, occupied as receptacles for merchan- 
dise under the Spanish dominion, when all the ports of 
America were closed against foreign vesseb. In one 
comer of the ruined building was a sort of guardroom, 
where a few soldiers were eating tortillas, and one was 
cleaning his musket. Another apartment was occupied 
by the captain of the port, who told me that the mules 
engaged for me had got loose, and the muleteers were 
looking for them. Here I had the pleasure to meet Dr. 
Drivin, a gentleman from the Island of St. Lucia, who 
had a large sugar hacienda a few leagues distant, and 
was at the port to superintend the disembarcation of 
machinery for a mill from the English brig. While 
waiting for the mules he conducted me to a hut where 
he had two Guayaquil hammocks hung, and feeling al- 
ready the effect of my exertions, I took possession of 
one of them. 

The woman of the rancho was a sort of ship's hus* 
band ; and there being three vessels in port, the rancho 
was encumbered with vegetables, fruit, eggs, fowls, and 
ship's stores. It was close and hot, but very soon I re- 
quired all the covering I could get. I had a violent 

ILLNBtt. 881 

ague, followed by a fever, in comparison with which 
all I had suffered before was nothing. I called for 
water till the old woman was tired of giving it to met 
and went out and left me alone. I became lighthead- 
ed, wild with pain, and wandered among the misembk 
huts with only the consciousness that my brain was 
scorching. I have an indistinct recollection of qpeak^ 
ing English to some Indian women, begging them to 
get me a horse to ride to Zonzonate ; of some laughing, 
others looking at me with pity, and others leading me 
out of the sun, and making me lie down under the 
shade of a tree. At three o'clock in the afternoon the 
mate came ashore again. I had changed my position, 
and he found me lying on my face asleep, and almost 
withered by the sun. He wanted to take me back on 
board the ship, but I begged him to procure mules and 
take me to Zonzonate, within the reach of medical as* 
sistance. It is hard to feel worse than I did when I 
mounted. I passed three hours of agony, scorched by 
the intense heat, and a little before dark arrived at Zon* 
zonate, fortunate, as Dr. Drivin afterward told me, in 
not having suffered a stroke ot the sun. Before en^ 
tering the town and crossing the bridge over the Rio 
Grandci I met a gentleman well mounted, having a scar* 
let Peruvian pellon over his saddle, with whose appear- 
ance I was struck, and we exchanged low bows. This 
gentleman, as I afterward learned, was the government 
I was looking after. 

X rode to the house of Captain De Nouvelle's broth* 
er, one of the largest in the place, where I had that 
comfort, seldom known in Central America, a room to 
myself, and everything else necessary. For several 
days I remained within doors. The first afternoon I 

Vol. I. — S s 


some of his followers, and four thousand dollars in 
money. Vigil assented to all except the four thousand 
dollars in money, but offered instead the credit of the 
State of Ban Salvador, which Rascon agreed to accept. 
Papers were drawn up, and that afternoon was appoint- 
ed for their execution ; but, while Vigil was waiting for 
him, Rascon and his friends, without a word of noticci 
mounted their horses and rode out of town. The place 
was thrown into great excitement, and in the evening I 
saw the garrison busily engaged in barricading the plaza, 
in apprehension of another attack. 

The next day I made a formal call upon SeBor Vigil. 
I was in a rather awkward position. When I left Gua* 
timala in search of a government, I did not expecl to 
meet it on the road. In that state I had heard but one 
side ; I was just beginning to hear the other. If there 
was any government, I had treed it. Was it the real 
thing or was it not ? In Guatimala they said it was not ; 
here they said it was. It was a knotty question. I was 
in no great favour in Guatimala, and in endeavouring to 
play a safe game I ran the risk of being hustled by all 
parties. In Guatimala they had no right to ask for my 
credentials, and took offence because I did not present 
tbbm ; here, if I refused, they had a right to consider it an 
insult. In this predicament I opened my business with 
the vice-president, and told him that I was on my way 
to the capital, with credentials from the United States ; 
but that, in the state of anarchy in which I found the 
country, was at a loss what to do ; I was desirous to 
avoid making a false step, and anxious to know whether 
the Federal Government really existed, or whether the 
Republic was dissolved. Our interview was long and 
interesting, and the purport of his answer was, that the 
government did exist de facto and de jure ; he himself 



gteat perplexity whether I had any government was not 
yet brought to a eloee. 

In the mean' time, while the political repairs were go- 
ing on, I remained in Zonsonate recmiting. The town 
18 situated on the 1>ank8 of the Rio Gfande, which is 
formed by ahnoet imiamerable springs, and in the In- 
dian language its name means four hundred springs of 
water. It stands in one of the richest districts of the rich 
State of San Salvador, and has its plaza, with streets at 
right angles, and white houses of one story, some of 
them very large ; but it has borne its share of the calam- 
ities which have visited the unfortunate Republic. The 
best houses are deserted, and their owners in exile. 
There are seven costly churches and but one cura. 

I was unable to undertake any journey by land, and 
feeling the enervating effect of the climate, swung all 
day in a hammock. Fortunately, the proprietors of the 
brig which I had seen at Acajutla, bound for Peru, 
dianged her destination, and determined to send her to 
Costa Rica, the southernmost state of the Confederacy. 
At the same time, a man offered as a servant, very highly 
recommended^ and whose appearance I liked ; and I re- 
solved to have the benefit of the sea voyage, and, in re- 
tuniing by land, explore the canal route between the At- 
lantic and Pacific by the Lake of Nicaragua, a thing 
which I had desired much, but despaired of being able 
to accomplish. 

Before leaving I roused myself for an excursion. 
The window of my room opened upon the Volcano of 
Ixalco. All day I heard at short intervals the eruptions 
of the burning mountain, and at night saw the column 
of flame bursting from the crater, and streams of fire 
rolling down its side. Fortunately, Mr. Blackburn, a 
Scotch merchant, for many years resident in Peru, ar- 






it, but behind it is a higher mountain, which commands 
a view of the burning crater. The whole volcano was 
in full sight, spouting into the air a column of black 
smoke and an immense body of stones, while the earth 
shook under our feet. Crossing the plain, we com- 
menced ascending the mountain. At eleven o'clock we 
sat down by the bank of a beautiful stream to break- 
fast. My companion had made abundant provision, and 
for the first time since I left Guatimala I felt the keen- 
ness of returning appetite. In half an hour we mount- 
ed, and soon after twelve o'clock entered the woods, 
having a very steep ascent by a faint path, which we 
soon lost altogether. Our guide changed his direction 
several times, and at length got lost, tied his horse, and 
left us to wait while he searched the way. We knew 
that we were near the volcano, for the explosions sound- 
ed like th6 deep mutterings of dreadful thunder. Shut 
up as we were in the woods, these reports were awful. 
Olir horses snorted with terror, and the mountain quaked 
beneath our feet. Our guide returned, and in a few 
minutes we came out suddenly upon an open point, 
higher than the top of the volcano, commanding a view 
of the interior of the crater, and so near it that we saw 
the huge stones as they separated in the air, and fell pat- 
tering around the sides of the volcano. In a few min- 
utes our clothes were white with ashes, which fell around 
us with a noise like the i^rinkling of rain. 

The crater had three orifices, one of which was in- 
active ; another emitted constantly a rich blue smoke ; 
and after a report, deep in the huge throat of the third 
appeared a light blue vapour, and then ^ mass of thick 
black smoke, whirling and struggling out in enormous 
wreaths, and rising in a dark majestic column, lighted 
ion a moment by a sheet of flame ; and when the smoke 


mind we summed up our want of comforts for passing 
the night on the mountain, and determined to return. 
Mr. Blackburn and I thought that we could avoid the 
circuit of the mountain by descending directly to the 
base of the volcano, and crossing it, reach the camino 
real; but our guide said it was a tempting of Provi- 
dence, and refused to accompany us. We had a very 
steep descent on foot, and in some places our horses 
riid down on their haunches. An immense bed of lava, 
stopped in its rolling course by the side of the mountain, 
filled up the wide space between us and the base of the 
volcano. We stepped directly upon this black and 
firightful bed, but we had great difficulty in making our 
horses follow. The ktva lay in rolls as irregular as the 
waves of the sea, sharp, rough, and with huge chasms, 
difficult for us and dangerous for the horses. With 
great labour we dragged them to the base and around 
the side of the volcano. Massive stones, hurled into the 
air, fell and rolled down the sides, so near that we dared 
not venture farther. We were afraid of breaking our 
horses' legs in the holes into which they were constantly 
falling, and turned back. On the lofty point from which 
we had looked down into the crater of the volcano sat 
our guide, gazing, and, as we could imagine, laughing 
at us. We toiled back across the bed of lava and up 
the side of the mountain, and when we reached the top 
both my horse and I were almost exhausted. Fortu- 
nately, the road home was down hill. It was long after 
dark when we passed the foot of the mountain and came 
out upon the plain. Every burst of the volcano sent 
forth a pillar of fire ; in four places were steady fires, 
and in one a stream of fire was rolling down its side. 
At eleven o'clock we reached Zonzonate, besides toil- 
ing around the base of the volcano, having ridden up- 
VoL. I.— T T 



SkkiiMt «Bd Mntiny.— niiMM of Captain Jay.— Critical SiiaatiOD.— Booi^ 
Nuraing.— A Coontryman in Troable.— Dolphins.— Sacceation of Yolcanoea. 
—Onlf of Nicoya.~Haiboor of Caldera.— Another Coontryman.— Another 
Patiant— Hacienda of San Felippe.— Ifoontain of Aguacata— ^'ZiUnthil 
Patent Self-acting Cold Amalgamation Machine."— Gold Minea.— Yiew firom 
the Mountain Top. 

On Monday, the twenty-second of Januaryi two 
hours before daylight, we started for the port. ^Hezoos 
led the way, carrying before him all my luggage, rolled 
up in a baquette, being simply a cowhide, after the 
fashion of the country. At daylight we heard behind 
us the clattering of horses' hoofs, and Don Manuel 
de Aguila, with his two sons, overtook us. Before the 
freshness of the mc»rning was past we reached the port, 
and rode up to the old hut which I had hoped never to 
see again. The hammock was swinging in the same 
place. The miserable rancho seemed destined to be the 
abode of sickness. In one corner lay Senor D' Yriarte, 
my captain, exhausted by a night of fever, and unable 
to sail that day. 

Dr. Drivin was again at the port. He had not yet 
disembarked \is machinery ; in fact, the work was sus* 
pended by a mutiny on board the English brig, the 
ringleader of which, as the doctor complained to me, 
was an American. I passed the day on the seashore* 
In one place, a little above high-water mark, almost 
washed by the waves, were rude wooden crosses, mark- 
ing the graves of unhappy sailors who had died far from 
their homes. Returning, I found at the hut Captain 
Jay, of the English brig, who also complained to me 
of the American sailor. The captain was a young 


teemed constructed expressly for holding men in coin 
▼nlsions. At first he was so shocked that be did not 
know what to do. I told him that the captain was to be 
held, whereupon, opening his powerful arms, he closed 
them around the captain's with the force of a hydraulio 
press, turning the legs over to me. These legs were a 
pair of the sturdiest that ever supported a human body ; 
and I verily believe that if the feet had once touched 
my ribs, they would have sent me through the wall of 
the hut. Watching my opportunity, I wound the ham- 
mock around his legs, and my arms around the ham- 
mock. In the mean time he broke loose from Mr. War- 
burton's hug, who, taking the hint from me, doubled hts 
part in with the folds of the hammock, and gave his 
clinch from the outside. The captain struggled, and, 
worming like a gigantic snake, slipped his head out of 
the top of the hammock, and twisted the cords around his 
neck, so that we were afraid of his strangling himself. 
We were in utter despair, when two of his sailors rush- 
ed in, who, being at home with ropes, extricated his 
head, shoved him back into the hammock, wrapped it 
around him as before, and I withdrew completely ex- 

The two recruits were Tom, a regular tar of about 
forty, and the cook, a black man, and particular friend 
of Tom, who called him Darkey. Tom undertook the 
whole direction of securing the captain ; and although Dr. 
Drivin and several Indians came in, Tom's voice was 


the only one heard, and addressed only to '' Darkey.'^ 
« Stand by his legs. Darkey !" " Hold fast, Darkey !" 
** Steady, Darkey!" but all together could not hold 
him. Turning on his face and doubling himself inside, 
he braced his back, and drove both legs through the 
hammock, striking his feet violently against the ground ; 

"*■ — 


Us boggy shirt a foot more out of hid trousers, and thrust 
the parrot into his bosom, almost smothering it with his 
neckcloth. The parrot, indignant at this confinement, 
was driving his beak constantly into Tom's breast, 
which was scarified and covered with blood ; and oncci 
when Tom thought it was going too far, he put his hand 
inside and pinched it, which produced the extraordina- 
ry sounds we had heard. 

In a little while Tom and Darkey got the Indians to 
relieve them, and went out to drink the captain's health. 
On their return they took their places on the ground, 
one on each side of their commander. I threw myself 
into the broken hammock ; and Dr. Drivin, charging 
them, if the captain awoke, not to say anything that 
could agitate hhn, went off to another hut. 

It was not long before the captain, raising his head, 
called out, '^ What the devil are you doing with my 
legs?" which was answered by Tom's steady cry, 
'^Hold on. Darkey!" Darkey and an Indian were 
holding the captain's legs, two Indians his arms, and 
Tom was spread over his body. The captain looked 
perfectly sensible, and utterly amazed at being pinned 
to the ground. " Where am I ?" said he. Tom and 
Darkey had agreed not to tell him what had happened ; 
but, after the most extraordinary lying on the part of 
Tom, while the captain was looking at him and us in 
utter amazement, the poor fellow became so entangled, 
that, swearing the doctor might stay and tell his own 
stories, he began where he and Darkey came in, and 
found the captain kicking in the hammock; and the 
captain was given to understand that if it had not been 
for him and Darkey he would have kicked his own 
brains out. I relieved Tom's story from some obscu- 
rity, and a general and noisy conversation followed, 


which was cut short by poor Captain D'Yriarte, who 
hftd not had a wink of deep all night, and begged us to 
gfare him a chance. 

In the morning, while I was taking chocolate with 
Doctor Drivin, the mate came to the hut with the mn* 
tihous American sailor in the custody of four soldiers, 
to make a complaint to me. The sailor was a jaang 
man of twenty-eight, short, well-made, and Tery good- 
looking, and his name was Jemmy. He, too, com- 
plained to me ; wanted to leave the brig, and said that 
he would stop on a barren rock in the midst of the 
ocean rather than remain on board. I told him I was 
sorry to find an American sailor a ringleader in muti- 
ny, and represented to him the distress and danger in 
which it had placed the captain. Doctor Drivin had 
had some sharp passages with him on board the brig, 
and, after a few words, started up and struck him. 
Jemmy fell back in time to avoid the full blow, and, as 
if by no means unused to such things, continued to fall 
back and ward off; but when pressed too hard, he broke 
loose from the soldiers, and tore off his jacket for a reg- 
ular fight. I had no idea of favouring a mutinous sail- 
or, but still less of suffering an American to be mal- 
treated by odds, and hauled ofi* the soldiers. In a 
moment the doctor's passion was over, and he discon- 
tinued his attack, whereupon Jemmy surrendered. him- 
self to the soldiers, who carried him, as I supposed, to 
the guardhouse. I waited a little while, and, going 
down, saw Jemmy sitting on the ground in front of the 
quartel, with both legs in the stocks above the knees. 
He was keenly alive to the disgrace of his situation, 
and my blood boiled. I hurried to the captain of the 
port, and complained warmly of his conduct as high- 
handed and insufferable, and insisted that Jemmy must 

*■- -— — ^I^^^^M-J^— ^« --^^^^-^ ■ . i 


be releasedi or I would ride to San Salvador on the 
instant and make a complaint against him. Doctor 
Drivin joined me, and Jenrniy was released from the 
stocks, but put under guard in the quartel. This will 
probably never reach the eyes of any of hia friends, but 
I will not mention his name. He waa from the little 
town of Esopus, on the Hudson. In 1834 he sailed- 
from New- York in the aloop-of-war Peacock for the 
Pacific station ; was transferred to the North Carolina, 
and regularly discharged at Valparaiso ; entered the 
Chilian naval service, and after plenty o^ fighting and 
no prise-money, shipped on board this brig. I repre- 
sented that he was liable to be tried for mutiny, and 
had only escaped the atocks by my happening to be at 
the port ; that I could do nothing more for him ; and 
he might be kept on shore till the vessel sailed, and 
carried on board in irons. It was a critical moment in 
the young man's life ; and, as one destitute of early op- 
portunities, and whom necessity had probably doomed 
to a wayward life, and, moreover, as a countryman, I 
was anxious to save him from the effects .of headstrong 
passion. The captain said he was the best sailor on 
board ; and as he was short of hands, I procured from 
him a promise that, if Jemmy would return to his duty, 
he would take no notice of what had passed, and would 
give him his discharge at the first port where he could 
procure a substitute. 

Fortunately, in the afternoon Captain D'Yriarte waa 
sufficiently recoVered to sail, and before going on board 
my vessel I took Jemmy to his. She was the dirtiest 
vessel I ever saw, and her crew a fair sample of the 
villanous sailors picked up in the ports of the Pacific. 
Among them, and as bad as any in appearance, waa 
another countryman. Jemmy's American accomplice. 

Vol. I.— U u 29 



one on board. The king of the oea seemed conseioin 
of hid fallen state ; his beautiful colours faded, and he 
became spotted, and at last heavy and lustreless, like 
any other dead fish. 

We passed in regular succession the volcanoes of San 
Salvador, San Vicente, San Miguel, Telega, Momotom^ 
bo, Managua, Nindiri, Masaya, and Nicaragua, each 
one a noble spectacle, and all together forming a chain 
with which no other in the world can be compared ; 
indeed, this coast has well been described as "bristling 
vrith volcanic cones." For two days we lay with sails 
flapping in sight of Cape Blanco, the upper headland 
of the Gulf of Nicoya. On the afternoon of the thirty^ 
first we entered the gulf. On a line with the point of 
the cape was an island of rock, with high, bare, and 
precipitous sides, and the top covered with verdure. 
It was about sunset ; for nearly an hour the sky and sea 
seemed blazing with the reflection of the departing lu- 
minary, and the island of rocks seemed like a fortress 
with turrets. It was a glorious farewell view. I had 
passed my last night on the Pacific, and the highlands 
of the Gulf of Nicoya closed around us. 

Early in the morning we had the tide in our favouTi 
and very soon leaving the main body of the gulf, turn* 
ed ofl* to the right, and entered a beautiful little cove, 
forming the harbour of Caldera. In front was the range 
of mountains of Aguacata, on the left the old port of 
Pont Arenas, and on the right the Volcano of Sail Pablo. 
On the shore was a long low house set upon piles, with 
a tile roof, and near it were three or four thatched huts 
and two canoes. We anchored in front of the houses, 
and apparently without exciting the attention of a soul 
on shore. 

All the ports of Central America on the Pacific are 


trance of seditiotui persons, emigres, and expnlsadoA 
from other states, who might disturb the peace of Costa 
Rica, but that it could not contemplate a case lil^e mine^ 
at the same 'lime laying great stress upon my official 
character. Fortunately for me, he had a high setise of 
the respect due to that character, and, though holding a 
petty office, had a feeling of pride that his state should 
not be considered wanting in courtesy to an accredited 
stranger. For a long time he was at a loss what to do ; 
but finally, after much deliberation, he requested me to 
wait till morning, when he would despatch a courier to 
advise the government of the circumstances, and would 
take upon himself the responsibility of permitting me to 
land. Fearful of some accident or some change of pur* 
pose, and anxious to get my feet on shore, I suggested 
that, in order to avoid travelling in the heat of the day^ 
it would be better to sleep on shore, to be ready for an 
early start, to which he assented. 

In the afternoon the captain took me ashore. At the 
first house we saw two candles lighted to burn at the 
body of a dead man. All whom we saw were ill, and 
all complained that the place was fatal to human life. 
In fact, it was almost deserted ; and, notwithstanding 
its advantages as a port, government, a few days after* 
Ward, issued an order for breaking it up, and removing 
back to the old port of Pont Arenas. The captain was 
still suffering from fever and ague, and would ndt on any 
account remain after dark. I was so rejoiced to find 
myself on shore, that if I had met a death's head at every 
step it would hardly have turned me back. 

The last stranger at the port was a distinguished 
American. His name was Handy ; I had first heard of 
him at the Cape of Good Hope, hunting giraffes, after- 
ward met him in New- York, and regretted exceedingly 


to miflB him here. He had travelled from the United 
States through Texas, Mexico, and Central America, 
with an elephant and two dromedaries as his file lead- 
ers ! The elephant was the first ever seen in Central 
America, and I often heard of him in the Pueblos under 
the name of El Demonio. Six days before, Mr. Handy, 
with his interesting family, had embarked for Peru, and 
perhaps he is at this moment crossing the pampas to 

Determined not to lose sight of my friend the captain 
of the port, with my luggage at my heels I walked 
down the beach for the custom-house. It was a frame 
building, about forty feet long, and stood at a little dis- 
tance above high-water mark, on piles about six feet 
above ground. It was the gathering-place of different 
persons in the employ of the government, civil and mil- 
itary, and of two or three women employed by them. 
The military force consisted of the captain of the port 
and the soldier who boarded us, so that I had not much 
fear of being sent back at the point of the bayonet. 
During the evening a new difficulty arose about my ser- 
vant ; but, considering myself tolerably secure, I insisted 
that he was my suite, and obtained permission for him to 
accompany me. My host gave me a bedstead, with a 
bull's hide for a bed. It was a warm night, and I placed 
it opposite an open door, and looked out upon the wa- 
ter of the gulf. The waves were breaking gently upon 
the shore, and it was beautiful to see the Cosmopolita 
riding quietly at her anchor, without even 'Hezoos or the 
luggage in her. 

At two o'clock in the morning we rose, and before 
three we started. The tide was low, and for some dis- 
tance we rode along the shore by moonlight. At day- 
light we overtook the courier sent to give advice of my 


commg; in an li6ur crossed the river of Jesus Mariai 
aiid at seven o'clock stopped to breakfast at the hacien- 
da of Ae same name. 

It was a miserable shell, with an arbour of branches 
around it, but had an appearance of cleanliness and com- 
fort; and^ezoos told me that the proprietor had on it 
two thousand head of cattle, and owned all the land 
over which we had ridden from the sea. *Hezoos was 
quite at home ; and, as he afterward told me, he had 
once wanted to marry one of the daughters ; but the fa- 
ther and mother objected, because he was not good 
enough. He added that they were surprised at seeing 
him return in such prosperous circumstances, and that 
the daughter told him she had always refused to marry 
any one else on account of her affection for him. 

While breakfasting, the mother told me of a sick 
daughter, asked me for remedios, and finally requested 
me to go in and see her. The door opened from the 
shed, and all the apertures in the room were carefully 
closed, so as to exclude even a breath of air. The in- 
valid lay in a bed in one comer, with a cotton covering 
over it like a moscheto-netting, but lower, and pinned 
close all around ; and when the mother raised the cov- 
ering, I encountered a body of hot and unwholesome 
air that almost overcame me. The poor girl lay on her 
back, with a cotton sheet wound tightly around her 
body ; and already she seemed like one laid out for 
burial. She was not more than eighteen; the fever 
had just left her, her eye still sparkled, but her face 
was pale, and covered with spots, seams, and creases 
of dirt. She was suffering from intermitting fever, that 
scourge which breaks down the constitution and carries 
to the grave thousands of the inhabitants of Central 
America ; and, according to the obstinate prejudice of 

■f — ' 



mining. It was in a large clearilig, and a ^ne situation, 
and its cleanliness, neatness, and good ^fences showed 
that the Welshman had not forgotten what he had 
learned 4it home. 

We crossed the river Sombris and the Rio Ghrande 
or Machuca, and reached the hacienda of San Mateo, 
situated in the Boca of the mountain of Aguacate, and 
from this place we began to ascend. The road had 
bafen much improved lately, but the ascent was staep, 
wild, and rugged. As we toiled up the ravine, we 
heard before us a loud noise, that sounded like distant 
thunder, but regular and continued, and becoming loud- 
er as we advanced ; and at length we came out on a 
small clearing, and saw on the side of the mountain a 
neat frame building of two stories, with a light and 
graceful balcony in front ; and alongside was the thun- 
dering machine which had startled us by its noise. 
Strangers from the other side of the Atlantic were pier^ 
cing the sides of the mountain, and pounding its stones 
into dust to search for gold. The whole range, the 
very ground which our horses spurned with their hoofs, 
contained that treasure for which man forsakes kindred 
and country. 

I rode up to the house and introduced myself to Don 
Juan Bardh, the superintendent, a German from Fries- 
burg. It was about two o'clock, and excessively hot. 
The house was furnished with chairs, sofa, and books, 
and had in my eyes a delightful appearance ; but the 
view without was more so. The stream which turned 
the immense pounding-machine had made the spot, from 
time immemorial, a descansadera, or resting-place for 
muleteers. All around were mountains, and directly 
in front one rose to a great height, receding, and cov- 
ered to the top with trees. 

Vol. I. — ^X X 


Don Joan Bardh had been rapedntendent of the Q 
brada del Ingenio for about three years^ The Company 
which he represented was called the Anglo Costa Rican 
Economical Mining Company. It had been in opera* 
tion these three years without losing anything, which 
was considered doing so well that it had increased its 
capital, and was about contintiing on a larger scale. 
The machine, which had just been set up, was a new 
German patent, called a Machine for extracting Odd 
by the ZUlentkal Patent Self-acting' Cold Amalgamation 
Process (I believe that I hare omitted nothing), and its 
great value was that it required no preliminaty process, 
but by one continued and simple operation extracted 
the gold from the stone. It was an immense wheel of 
cast iron, by which the stone, as it came from the mount- 
ain, was pounded into powder ;.tbi8 passed into troughs 
filled with water, and from them into a reservoir con- 
taining vases, where the gold detadied itself from the 
other particles, and combined with the quicksilver with 
which the vases were provided. 

There were several mines under Don Juan's charge, 
and after dinner he accompanied me to that of Cor*^ 
rallio, which was the largest, and, fortunately, lay oa 
my road. After a hot ride of half an hour, ascending 
through thick woods, we reached the spot 

According to the opinion of the few geologists who 
have visited that country, immense wealth lies buried 
in the mountain of Aguacate ; and so far from being 
hidden, the proprietors say, its places are so well mark- 
ed that all who search may find. The lodes or min- 
eral veins run regularly north and south, in ranges of 
greenstone porphyry with strata of basaltic porphyry, and 
average about three feet in width. In some places side- 
cuts or lateral excavations are made from east to west, 



Lb Osrita.— Alihiwli.— a friendly People.—Hereditw— Rio Segoodo.— Ooflba- 
plmntatipDi of 8«o JoiA.-'The SacranMoi lor the Dying^^A happy Moetii«.-- 
Travelliof EinbomninenU.~Qaartert in a CooTent— Senor Carillo, Chief of 
State —Tidaaitadea of Fortane.-'Viait to Cartago.-^Trea Rioa.-^An onei* 
peelad If ealinff.— Aaeent of the Volcano of Cartago.— The Crater.— View d 
the two Seaa.—DeaceDt— Stroll throogfa Cartago.-^A BariaL— Another at- 
tack of Ferer and Agne.— A Vagabond.— ColiiTatioo of Coflfee. 

The next morning we entered an open, rolling, and 
undulating country, which reminded me of scenes at 
home. At nine o'clock we came to the brink of a mag- 
nificent ravine, and winding down by a steep descent 
of more than fifteen hundred feet, the mountains closed 
around us and formed an amphitheatre. At the bottom 
of the ravine was a rough wooden bridge crossing a 
narrow stream running between perpendicular rocks a 
hundred and fifty feet high, very picturesque, and re* 
minding me of Trenton Falls. 

We ascended by a steep road to the top of the ra- 
pine, where a long house stood across the road, so as 
to prevent all passing except directly through it. It is 
called La Grarita, and commands the road firom the 
port to the cc^ital. Officers are stationed here to take 
an account of merchandise and to examine passports. 
The one then in command had lost an arm in the ser- 
vice of his country, L e., in a battle between his own 
town and another fifteen miles off, and the place was 
given to him as a reward for his patriotic services. 

As we advanced the country improved, and for a 
league before entering Alihuela it was lined on both 
sides with houses three or four hundred yards apart, 
built of sundried bricks, whitewashed, and the fironts of 




aome were ornamented with paintings. Several had 
chalked in red on each side of the door the figure of a 
soldier, with his musket shouldered and bayonet fixed, 
large as life and stiff as a martinet. But all imperfec 
tions were hidden by rows of trees on both sides of the 
road, many of them bearing beautiful flowers, which in 
some places completely imbowered the housjes. The 
fields were cultivated with sugarcane, and every house 
had its little trapiche or sugarmill; and there were 
marks of carriage-wheels, and very soon we heard a ve- 
hicle apiproaching. The creaking of its wheels made al- 
most as much noise as the Zillenthal I^atent Cold AmaT- 
gamating Machine in the mountain of Aguacate. They 
were ma^de of a cut, about ten or twelve inches thick, 
firom the trunk of a Guanacaste tree, with a bole in the 
centre, which played upon the axle almost ad libitum, 
and made the most mournful noise that can be conceiT* 
ed. The body was constructed of sugarcane ; it was 
about four feet high, and drawn by oxen fastened by 
the horns instead of the neck* 

At the entry of Alihuela I stopped to inquire for one 
bearing a name immortal in the history of the Spanish 
conquest. It was the name of Alvarado. Whether he 
was a descendant or not I do not know, nor did he ; and 
strange to say, though I met several bearing that name, 
sot one attempted to trace his lineage to the conqueror. 
Don Ramon Alvarado, however, was recommended to me 
for qualities which allied him in character with his great 
namesake. He was the courier of the English Mining 
Company for Serapequea and the River St. Juan, one 
of the wildest roads in all Central America. 

Next tp the advantage of the sea voyage, my princi- 
pal object in leaving Zonzonate was to acquire some 
information in regard to the canal route between the 

▲ LIHUBLA. 35t 

Atlantic and Pacific by means of the Lake of Nicai»« 
gua and the River San Juan^ and mj bosineas with AI4 
Yarado was to secure him as a guide to the port of San 
Juan* In half an hour all these arrangements wera 
made, the day fixed, and half .the contract-money paid. 
In the mean time 'Hezoos was busily engaged in draw-» 
ing a black glazed covering over my hat, and fixing in 
it an American eagle which I had taken off on ship* 

There are four cities in Costa Rica, all of which lie 
within the space of fifteen leagues; yet each has a dif« 
ferent climate and different productiooSk Including the 
suburbs, Alihuela contains a population of about 10,000^ 
The plaza was beautifully situated, and the church, the 
oabildo, and the houses fronting it were handsome* Thei 
latter were long and low, with broad piazzas and large 
windows, having balconies made of wooden bars. It 
was Sunday, and the inhabitants, cleanly dressed, were 
sitting on the piazzas, or, with doors wide open, recli« 
ning in hammocks, or on high-backed wooden setteee 
inside. The women were dressed like ladies, and some { 
were handsome, and all white. A respectable-looking ' 
old man, standing in the door of one of the best houses^ 
called out ^' Amigo," ^' friend," and asked us who we 
were, whence we came, and whither we were going, 
recommending us to God at parting ; and all along the 
street we were accosted in the same friendly spirit. 

At a distance of three leagues we passed through 
Heredia without dismounting. I had ridden all day 
with a feeling of extraordinary satisfaction; and if 
such were my feelings, what must have been those of 
'Hezoos ? He was returning to his country, with his 
love for it increased by absence and hardship away 
from home. All the way he met old acquaintances 


and friends. He was a good-looking fellow, dashing^ 
ly dressed, and wore a basket-hilted Peruvian sword 
more than six feet long. Behind him was strapped a 
valise of scarlet cloth, with black borders, part of the 
miiform of a Peruvian soldier. It would have been ca- 
rious to remember how many times he told his story : 
of military service and two battles in Peru ; of impress- 
ment for the navy and desertion ; a voyage to Mexico, 
and his return to Guatimala by land ; and always con- 
cluded by inquiring about his wife, from whom he had 
not heard since he left home, '< la povera" being regu- 
larly his last words. As we approached his home his 
tenderness for la povera increased. He could not pro- 
cure any direct intelligence of her ; but one good-na- 
tured friend suggested that she had probably married 
some one else, and that he would only disturb tVe 
peace of the family by his retivn. 

A league beyond Heredia we came to another great 
ravine. We descended, and crossed a bridge over 
the Rio Segondo. A few months before, this river 
had risen suddenly and without any apparent cause, 
swept away a house and family near the bridge, and 
carried with it consternation and death. But little is 
known of the geography of the interior of the country, 
and it is supposed that a lake had^burst its bounds, 
Rising upon the other side,'Hezoos pointed out the scene 
of the battle in which the officer at La Garita had lost 
his arm, and in which he himself had taken part, and, 
being a San Jose man, he spoke of the people of the 
other town as an Englishman in Lord Nelson's time 
would of a Frenchman. 

On the top of the ravine we came upon a large table 
of land covered with the rich coffee-plantations of San 
Jos6. It was laid out into squares of two hundred feet. 


my hat. A fanatic fellow, with a scowl on his face, 
cried out, " quittez el sombrero," " take off your hat.** 
I answered by spurring my horse, and at the same mo- 
ment the whole procession was thrown into confusion. 
A woman darted from the line, and 'Hezoos sprang from 
his horse and caught her in his arms, and hugged and 
kissed her as much as decency in the public streets 
would allow. To my great surprise, the woman was 
only his cousin, and she told him that his wife^ who was 
the principal milliner in the place, was on before in the 
procession. 'Hezoos was beside himself; ran back, re- 
turned, caught his horse, and dragged the beast after 
him ; then mounting and spurring, begged me to hurry 
on and let him go back to his wife. Entering the town, 
we passed a respectable-looking house, where (our or 
five well-dressed women were sitting on the piazza. 
They screamed, 'Hezoos drove his mule up the steps, 
and throwing himself off, embraced them all around. 
After a few hurried words, he embraced them all over 
again. Some male frijends attempted to haul him off, 
but he returned to the women. In fact, the poor fellow 
seemed beside himself, though I could not but observe 
that there was method in his madness ; for, after two 
rounds with the very respectable old ladies, he aban- 
doned them, and dragging forward a very pretty young 
girl with his arms around her waist, and kissing her 
every moment, told me she was the apprentice of his 
wife ; and though at every kiss he asked her questions 
about his wife, he did not wait for answers, and the 
kisses were repeated faster than the questions. During 
fdl this time I sat on my horse looking on. Doubtless 
it was very pleasant for him^ but I began to be impa- 
tient; seeing which, he tore himself away, mounted, 
and, accompanied by half a dozen of his friends^ he 


shut up ; a padre who had been in the United States 
was sick, and could not receive any one ; my servant's 
friends all recommended different persons, as if I had 
the whole town at my disposal ; and principally they 
urged me to honour with my company the chief of the 
state. In the midst of this street consultation, I longed 
for a hotel at a hundred dollars a day, and the govern*- 
ment for paymaster. 'Hezoos, v^o was all the time in 
a terrible hurry, after an animated interlude with some 
of his friends, spurred his mule and hurried me back, 
crossed a corner of the plaza, turned down a street to 
the right, stopped opposite a small house, where he dis- 
mounted, and begging me to do the same, in a mo- 
ment the saddles were whipped off and carried inside. 
I was ushered into the house, and seated on a low chair 
in a small room where a dozen women, friends of *He* 
zoos and his wife, were waiting to welcome him to his 
home. He told me that he did not know where his 
house was, or that it had an extra room, till he learn- 
ed it from his friends ; and carrying ray luggage into 
a little dark apartment, said that I could have that to 
myself, and that he, and his wife, and all his friends 
would wait upon me, and that I could be more comfort- 
able than in any house in San Jos6. I was excessively 
tired, having made three days' journey in two, worn 
out with the worry of searching for a resting-place, and 
if I had been younger, and had no character to lose, I 
should not have given myself any farther trouble ; but, 
unfortunately, the dignity of office might have been ' 
touched by remaining in the house of my servant ; and, 
besides, I could not move without running against a 
woman ; and, more than all, 'Hezoos threw his arms 
around any one he chose, and kissed her as much as 
he pleased. In the midst of my irresolution ^^ la poTe« 



cool ; bnt, at all events, his nephew coining in eoon 
after, they forthwith procured me chocolate. At each 
end of the long room was a small one, one occupied by 
the padre and the other by his nephew. The latter va* 
cated his ; and with a few pieces from the padre's, they 
fitted me up so well, that when I lay down I congratu- 
lated myself upcm my forcible entry ; and probably be- 
fore they had recovered from their surprise I was asleep. 
My arrival was soon known, and the next morning I 
received several invitations to the houses of residents — 
one from the lady of Don Manuel de Aguila ; but I was 
so well pleased with the convent that I was not dispo* 
sed to leave it. As a matter of course, I soon became 
known to all the foreign residents, who, however, were 
but four ; Messrs. Steiples and Squire, a German and 
an Englishman, associated in businesa; Mr. Walleo- 
stein, German ; and the fourth was a countryman, Mx. 
Lawrence, from Middletown, Connecticut. All lived 
with Mr. Bteiples; and I had immediately a general 
invitation to make his house my home. 

San Josi is, I believe, the only city that has grown 
up or even improved since the independence of Central 
America. Under the Spanish dominion Cartago waa 
the royal capital ; but, on the breaking out of the revo» 
lution, the fervour of patriotism was so hot, that it was 
resolved to abolish this memorial of colonial servitude, 
and establish the capital at San Jose. Their local ad- 
vantages are perhaps equal. Cartago is nearer the At- 
lantic, and San Jos^ the Pacific ; but they are only six 
leagues apart. The buildings in San Josi are all 
republican ; there is not one of any grandeur or archi- 
tectural beauty ; and the churches are inferior to many 
erected by the Spaniards in the smallest villages. Ner- 
ertheless, it exhibited a development of resources and 


He was about fifty, short and stont, plain, but careful 
in his dress, and with an appearance of dogged resold* 
tion in his face. His house was republican enonghi 
and had nothing to distinguish it from that of any other 
citizen ; in one part his wife had a little store, and 
in the other was his office for government business. 
It was not larger than the counting-room of a third-rate 
merchant, and he had three clerks, who at the mo- 
ment of my entering were engaged writing, while he| 
with his coat off, was looking over papers. He had 
heard of my coming, and welcomed me to Costa Rica* 
Thou^ the law. under which I came near being detain- 
ed at the port was uppermost in my mind, and I am 
sure was not forgotten by him, neither of us referred to 
it. He inquired particularly about Guatimala; and, 
though sympathizing in the policy of that state, had no 
good opinion of Carrera. He was uncompromising in 
his hostility to General Morazan and the Federal Gov- 
ernment, and, in fact, it seemed to me that he was 
agaiiist any general government, and strongly impressed 
with the idea that Costa Rica could stand alone; 
doubtless believing that the state, or, which is the same 
thing, he himself, could disburse the revenues better 
than any other authority. Indeed, this is the rock on 
which all the politicians of Central America split : there 
is no such thing as national feeling. Every state would 
be an empire ; the officers of state cannot brook supe- 
riors ; a chief of the state cannot brook a president. 
He had not sent deputies to the Convention, and did 
not intend to do so ; but said that Costa Rica would 
remain neutral until the other states had settled their 
difficulties. He{«rK)ke with much interest of the im- 
provement of the roads, particularly to the ports on the 
Atlantic and Pacific, and expressed great satisfaction at 



Early the next morning, accompanied by my comK' 
tryman Mr. Lawrence, and mounted on a noble mule 
lent me by Mr. Steiples, I set off for Cartage. We left 
the city by a long, well-paved street, and a little beyond 
the suburbs passed a neat coffee-plantation, which re- 
minded me of a Continental villa. It was the property 
of a Frenchman, who died just as he completed it ; but 
his widow had provided another master for his house 
and father for his children. -On both sides were mount- 
ains, and in front was the great Volcano of Cartage. 
The fields were cultivated with com, plantains, and po- 
tatoes. The latter, though indigenous, and now scatter- 
ed all over Europe, is no longer the food of the natives, 
and but rarely found in Spanish America. The Cartago 
potatoes are of good flavour, but not larger than a hick- 
ory nut, doubtless from the want of care in cultivating 
them. We passed a Campo Santo, a square enclosure 
of mud-walls whitewashed, and came to an Indian vil- 
lage, the first I had seen in Costa Rica^ and much better 
than any in the other states, the houses being of tejas, 
more substantial, and the inhabitants having clothes on. 

Half way between San Jos6 and Cartago we reached 
the village of Tres Hios. From this place the road was 
more broken, without fences, and the land but little cul- 

Entries have been found in the records of Cartago 
dated in 1598, which show it to be the oldest city in 
Central America. Coming firom San Joe6, its appear- 
ance was that of an ancient city. The churches were 
large and imposmg ; the houses had yard- walls as high 
as themselves ; and its quiet was extraordinary. We 
rode up a very long street without seeing a single per- 
son, and the cross-streets, extending to a great distance 


only seen the two seas once before. The points at 
which they were risible were the Qulf of Nicoya and 
the harbour of San Juan, not directly opposite, but 
nearly at right angles to each other, so that we saw 
them without turning the body. In a right line over 
the tops of the mountains neither was more than twen- 
ty miles distant, and from the great height at which we 
stood they seemed almost at our feet. It is the only - 
"^ point in the world which commands a view of the two 
^ seas ; and I ranked the sight with those most intere8t<» 
ing occasions, when from the top of Mount Sinai I look- 
ed out upon the Desert of Arabia, and from Mount Hor 
I saw the Dead Sea.* 

There is no history or tradition of the eruption of thi» 
volcano ; probably it took place long before the country 
was discovered by Europeans. This was one of the 
occasions in which I regretted the loss of my barome- 
ter, as the height of the mountain has never been meas- 
ured, but is believed to be about eleven thousand feet. 

We returned to our horses, and found Mr. Lawrence 
and the guide asleep. We woke them, kindled a fire, 
made choc<date, and descended* In an hour we reach- 
ed the hut at which we had slept, and at two o'clock 

Toward evening I set out with Mr. Lovel for a stroll. 
The streets were all alike, long and straight, and there 
was nobody in them. We fell into one which seemed 
to have no end, and at some distance were intercepted 
by a procession coming down a cross street. It was 
headed by boys playing on violins ; and then came a 
small barrow tastefully decorated, and strewed with 

* I hafe understood from wreral persont who htve crosted the itthmne from 
Chagres to Panama, that there is no point on the road from which the two 


flowets. It was a bier carrying the body of a child to 
the cemetery. We followed^ and passing it at the gate, 
entered through a chapel, at the door of which sat three 
or four men selling lottery-tickets, one of whom asked 
us if we ^wished to see the grave of our countryman. 
We assented, and he conducted us to the grave of a 
young American whom I had known by sight, and sev» 
eral members of whose family I knew personally. He 
died about a year before my visit, and his funeral was 
attended with mournful circumstances. The vicar re- 
fused him burial in consecrated ground. Dr. Brayley, 
who was the only European resident in Cartago, and at 
whose house he died, rode over to San Jose, and ma- 
king a strong point of the treaty existing between the 
United States and Central America, obtained an order 
from the government for his burial in the cemetery. 
Still the fanatic vicar, acting, as he said, under a high^ 
power, refused. A ijiessenger was sent to San Jos6, 
and two companies of soldiers were ordered to the doc- 
tor's house to escort the body to the grave. At night 
men were stationed at its side to watch that it was not 
dug up and thrown out. The next day the vicar, with 
the cross and images of saints, and all the emblems of 
the church, and a large concourse of citizens, moved in 
solemn procession to the cemetery, and formally recon- 
secrated the ground which had been polluted by the 
burial of a heretic. The grave is the third from the 

In the corridor, and in an honoured place among the 
principal dead of Cartago, lay the body of another 
stranger, an Englishman named Bailey. The day be- 
fore his death the alcalde was called in to draw his will, 
who, according to the customary form, asked him if he 
¥ras a Christian. Mr. Bailey answered yes ; and the 

^^M^h^l I IMlll ■■ 


it was, happy at escaping the troubles of an uncertaiD 
world. There were no tears shed ; on the contrary, all 
were cheerful ; and though it appeared heartless, it was 
not because the father did not love his child, but be- 
cause he and all his friends had been taught to believe, 
and were firm in the conviction, that, taken away so 
young, it was transferred immediately to a better world. 
The father sprinkled a handful of dirt over its face, the 
grave-digger took his shovel, in a few moments the lit- 
tle grave was filled up, and preceded by the boy playing 
on his violin, we all went away together. 

The next morning, with great regret, I took leave of 
my kind friends and returned to San Jos^. 

It is my misfortune to be the sport of other men's 
wives. I lost the best servant I had in Guatimala be- 
cause his wife was afraid to trust him with me, and on 
my return I found 'Hezoos at the convent waiting for 
me. While putting my things in order, without looking 
me in the face, he told me of the hardships his wife, '^ la 
povera," had suffered during his absence, and how diffi- 
cult it was for a married woman to get along without 
her husband. I saw to what he was tending ; and feel- 
ing, particularly since the recurrence of my fever and 
ague, the importance of having a good servant in the 
long journey I had before me, with the selfishness of a 
traveller I encouraged his vagabond propensities, by tell- 
ing him that in a few weeks he would be tired of home, 
and would not have so good an opportunity of getting 
away. This seemed so sensible that he discontinued 
his hints and went off contented. 

At three o'clock I felt uncertain in regard to my chill, 
but, determined not to give way, dressed myself, and 
went to dine with Mr. Steiples. Before sitting down, 
the blueness of my lips, and a tendency to use superflu- 

Vol. I.— 3 A 


otts syllables, betnjwl me ; and my old enemy Aook 
me all the way back to the eonventy and into bed. Fe« 
ver followed, and I lay in bed all next day, receiying 
many visits at the door, and a few inside. One of the 
latter was from 'Hezoos, who returned stronger than be- 
fore, and coming to the point, said that he himself was 
anxious to go with me, but his wife would not consent. 
I felt that if she had fairly taken the field against me it 
was all over, but told him that he had made a contract, 
and was already overpaid ; and sent her a pair of gold 
earrings to keep her quiet. 

For four days in succession I had a recurrence of chill 
and fever. Every kindness was shown me in the con- 
vent, friends visited me, and Dr. Brayley came over 
from Cartago to attend me, but withal I was despond- 
ing. The day fixed for setting out with Alvarado ar- 
rived. It was impossible to go ; Dr. Brayley advised 
me that it would be unwise, while any tendency to the 
disease remained, to undertake it. There were six days 
of desert travelling to the port of San Juan, without a 
house on the road, but mountains to cross and rivers to 
ford. The whole party was to go on foot except myself ; 
four extra men would be needed to pass my mule over 
some difficult places, and there was always more or less' 
rain. San Juan was a collection of miserable shanties, 
and from that place it was necessary to embark in a 
bungo for ten or fifteen days on an unhealthy river. 
Besides all this, I had the alternative to return by the 
Cosmopolita to Zonzonate, or to go to Guatimala by 
land, a journey of twelve hundred miles, through a coun- 
try destitute of accommodations for travellers, and dan- 
gerous from the convulsions of civil war. At night, as 
I lay alone in the convent, and by the light of a small 


candle saw the bats flying alonglSM roof, I felt gloomy, 
and would have been glad to be At home. 

Still I could not bear the idea of losing all I came for. 
The land-route lay along the coast of the Pacific, and 
for three days was the same as to the port. I deter- 
mined to go by land, but, by the advice of Dr. Brayley, 
to start in time for the vessel ; and in the hope that I 
would not have another chill, I bought two of the best 
mules in San. Jo66, one being that on which I had as- 
cended the Volcano of Cartago, and the other a macho, 
not more than half broke, but the finest animal I ever 

To return to 'Hezoos. The morning after I gave him 
the earrings he had not come, but sent word that he had 
the fever and ague. The next day he had it much 
worse, and satisfied that I must lose him, I sent him 
word that if he would procure me a good substitute I 
would release him. This raised him from bed, and 
in the afternoon he came with his substitute, who had 
very much the air of being the first man he had pick- 
ed up in the street. His dress was a pair of cotton 
trousers, with a shirt outside, and a high, bell-crowned, 
narrow-brimmed black straw hat ; and all that he had 


in the world was on his back. His hair was cut very 
close except in front, where it hung in long locks over 
his face; in short, he was the beau ideal of a Cen- 
tral American loafer. I did not like his looks, but I was 
at the time under the influence of fever, and told him I 
could give him no answer. He came again the next 
day at a moment when I wanted some service ; and by 
degrees, though I never hired him, he quietly engaged 
me as his master. 

The morning before I left, Don Augustin Gutierres 
called upon me, and seeing this man at the door, ex- 


{nressed his surprisey telling me tbat he was the town 
blackguard) a dnmkaidi gambler, robber, and assassin ; 
that the first night on the road he would rob, and perhaps 
murder me. Shortly after Mr. Iiawrence entered, who 
told me that he had just heard the same thing. I dis- 
charged him at once, and apparently not much to his 
surprise, though he still continued round the convent, as 
he said, in my employ. It was very important for mc 
to set out in time for the vessel, and I had but that day 
to look out for another. 'Hezoos was astonished at the 
changes time had made in the character of his friend. 
He said that he had known him when a boy, and had 
not seen him in many years till the day he brought him 
to me, when he had stumbled upon him in the street. 
Not feeling perfectly released, after a great deal of run* 
ning he brought me another, whose name was Nicolas. 
In any other country I should have called him a mulat* 
to ; but in Central America there are so many different 
shades that I am at a loss how to designate him. He 
was by trade a mason. 'Hezoos had encountered him 
at his work, and talked him into a desire to see Guati« 
mala and Mexico, and come back as rich as himself. 
He presented himself just as he left his work, with his 
shirt-sleeves rolled up above his elbows, and his trou* 
sers above his knees : a rough diamond for a valet ; but 
he was honest, could take care of mules, and make 
chocolate. I did not ask more. He was married, too ; 
and as his wife did not interfere with me, I liked him 
the better for it. 

In the afternoon, being the last before I started, in 
company with Mr. Lawrence I visited the coffee-plan* 
tations of Don Mariano Montealegre. It was a lovely 
situation, and with great good taste, Don Mariano lived 
there a great part of the year. He was at his faotoryi 

■kaSM^-ilMiMA^^M^^...- ... .... l^UCtl 


and his son mounted his horse and accompanied us. It 
was a beautiful walk, but in that 'country gentlemen 
never walk. 

The cultivation of coffee on the plains of San Jos6 
has increased rapidly within a few years. Seven years 
before the whole crop was not more than five hundred 
quintals, and this year it was supposed that it would 
amount to more than ninety thousand. Don Mariano 
was one of the largest planters, and had three caf6tals 
in that neighbourhood ; that which we visited contained 
twenty-seven thousand trees, and he was preparing to 
make great additions the next year. He had expended 
a large sum of money in buildings and machinery; 
and though his countrymen said he would ruin himselfi 
every year he planted more trees. His wife. La Seno- 
ra, was busily engaged in superintending the details of 
husking and drying the grains. In San Jos6, by-the- 
way, all %te ladies were what might be called good 
business-men, kept stores, bought and sold goods, look- 
ed out for bargains, and were particularly knowing in 
the article of coffee. 




Departare for Ooatimala.— Etptm.— Town of CotU Rica.— The BarraBet.— 
History of a CoontiTiiMtt.— Wild Scanery.— Hadaoda of ▲raBioas.— Ahar 
Lagaiios.— Carroa of Collito.— Heida of Daar.— tianta Rosa.— Dob Joaa Jos4 
Booilla. — An Earthquake. — A Cattle Farm. — Bagasas. — Goanacssta^— Aa 
agreeable Welcome.— Belle of Onanacaste.— Pleaaant Lodginga^^-CordiUafaai 
—Volcanoes of -RincoB and Oraai— Hacienda of San Taiaaa. Stmaat View. 
— ^The Pacific again. 

On the thirteenth day of FelMruary I mounted for 
my journey to Ouatimala. My equipage was reduced 
to articles of the last necessity : a hammock of striped 
cotton cloth laid over my pellouy a pair of alforgas, 
and a poncha strapped on behind. Nicolas bad strong 
across his alvarda behind a pair of leather ecdiineSy ia 
shape like buckets, with the inner nde fiat, containing 
biscuit, chocolate, sausages, and dolces, and in front, 
on the pommel, my .wearing apparel rolled up^ an ox^ 
hide, after the fashion of the country. During my 
whole stay at the convent the attentions of the padre 
were unremitted. Besides the servioea be actually ren« 
dered me, I have no doubt he considers that he saved 
my life ; for during my sickness he entered my room 
while I was preparing to shave, and made me desist 
from so dangerous an operation. I washed my face by 
stealth, but his kindness added another to the list of ob- 
ligations I was already under to the padres of Centra] 

I felt great satisfaction at being able once more to re- 
sume my journey, pleased with the lightness of my 
equipage, the spirit of my mules, and looked my jour- 
ney of twelve hundred miles boldly in the face. All at 
once I heard a clattering behind, and Nicolas swept by 
me on a full run. My macho was what was called 


pantosm, or Bcmty, ftnd started. I had very little atrengtk, 
and was £urly run away with. If I had boogfat my 
beasts for racing sbonid have had no reason to oom- 
plain ; but, unluckily, my saddle turned, and I came to 
die ground, fortunately clearing the stirrups, and the 
beast ran, scattering on the road pistols, holsters, sad* 
die-cloths, and saddle, and continued on bare*backed 
toward the town. To my great relief, some muleteere 
intercepted him, and saved my credit as a horseman in 
San JTos^. We were more than an hour in recovering 
acattered articles and repairing broken trappings. 

For three days my road was the same that I had 
travelled in entering Costa Rica. The fourth morning 
I rose without any recurrence of fever. Mr. Law- 
rence had kindly borne me company from San JTos^, and 
was still with me ; he had relieved me from all trouble, 
and had made my journey so easy and comfortable 
that, instead of being wearied, I was recruited, and 
abandoned all idea of returning by sea. 

At seven o'clock we started, and in half an hour 
feached Esparza. From this place to Nicaragua, a 
distance of three hundred miles, the road lay through a 
wilderness ; except the frontier town of Costa Rica, 
there were only a few straggling haciendas, twenty, 
thirty, and forty miles apart. I replenished my stock 
of provisions, and my last purchase was a yard and a 
half of American cotton from a Massachusetts factory^ 
<adled by the imposing name of Manta del Norte. 

In half an hour we crossed the Barranca, a broad, 
rapid, and beautiful river, but which lost in my eyes all 
its beauty, for here Mr. Lawrence left me. Since the 
day of my arrival at San Jos6 he had been almost con* 
atantly with me, had accompanied me in every exour- 
tnoD, and during my sickness had attended me constant* 


ly. He was a native of Middletown in Connecticuti 
about fifty years old, and by trade a silTersmith, and 
with the exception of a single return visit, had been 
nineteen years from home. In 1822 he went to PerU| 
where, besides carrying on his legitimate business upon 
a large scale, his science and knowledge of the pre- 
cious metals brought him into prominent public po- 
sitions. In 1830 he sold a mint to the government 
of Costa Rica, and was offered the place of its direc- 
tor. Business connected with the mint brought him 
to Costa Rica, and during his absence he left his af- 
fairs in the hands of a partner, who mismanaged them 
and died. Mr. L. returned to Peru, but without en- 
gaging in active business, and in the mean time the 
mint purchased of him was worn out, and another im- 
ported from Europe, so complicated that no one in 
Costa Rica could work it. Offers were made to Mr. 
L. of such a nature, that, connected with mining pur- 
poses of his own, they induced him to return. Don 
Manuel de Aguila was then Gefe del Estado, and on 
Mr. L.'s arrival at the port he met Don Manuel ban- 
ished and flying from the state. The whole policy of 
the government was changed. Mr. L. remained quiet- 
ly in San Jo86, and when I left intended to establish 
himself at Pont Arenas, to traffic with the pearl fisher^ 
men. Such is, in brief, the history of one of our many 
countrymen scattered in different parts of the world, 
and it would be a proud thing for the country if all sus- 
tained as honourable a reputation as his. We ex- 
changed adieus from the backs of our mules,, and, not 
to be sentimental, lighted our cigars. Whether we 
shall ever meet again or not is uncertain. 

I was again setting out alone. I had travelled so 
long with companions or in ships, that when the mo- 


WILD scBirs&T. 377 

tneht for plunging into the wilderness camci my cour* 
age almost failed me. And it was a moment that re^t 
qoired some energy ; for we struck off immediately into 
one of the wildest paths that I met on the whole of thai 
desolate journey. The trees were so close as to darken 
it, and the branches so low that it was necessary to 
keep the head constantly bent to avoid hitting them* 
The noise of the locusts, which had accompanied \u$ 
since we reached the mountain of Agnacate, here be- 
came startling. Very soon families of monkeys, walk* 
ing heavily on the tops of the trees, disturbed these 
noisy tenants of the woods, and sent them flying around 
us in such swarms that we were obliged to beat them 
off with our hats* My macho snorted and pulled vio- 
lently on the bit, dragging me against the trees ; and 
I could not help thinking, if this is the outset, what will 
be the end ? 

Parting with Mr. Lawrence advanced the position of 
Nicolas. Man is a talking animal ; Nicolas was par- 
ticularly so, and very soon I knew the history of his 
life. His father was a muleteer, and he seemed con- 
structed for the same rough business ; but after a few 
journeys to Nicaragua he retired in disgust, married, 
and had two children. The trying moment of his life 
was when compelled to serve as a soldier. His great 
regret was that he could not read or write, and his as- 
tonishment that he worked hard and yet could not get 
on. He wanted to go with me to Mexico, to go to my 
country, to be away two years, and to return with a 
sum of money in hand, as 'Hezoos had done. He knew 
that General Morazan was a great man, for when he 
visited Costa Rica there was a great firing of cannons 
and a ball. He was a poor man himself, and did not 
know what the wars were about; and supposed that 

Vol. 1.-3 B 


charm of noTelty, but this I would not bare exchanged 
for a dejeuner k la fourchette at the best restaurant of 
Pftris. The wild turkey was not more than enoogh for 
my household) which consisted of Nicolas. 

Resuming our journey, in two hours we emerged 
from the woods, and came into an open country in 
sight of the Cerros of Collito, a fine bare peak, stand- 
ing alone, conical, and covered with grass to the top. 
At twelve o'clock we reached the rancbo of an Indian. 
On one side was a group of orange*trees loaded with 
fruit, and in front a shed thatched with leaves of Indian 
corn. An old Indian woman was sitting in the door, 
and a sick Indian was lying asleep under the ^ed. It 
was excessively hot, and riding under the shed, I dis* 
mounted, threw myself into a ragged hammock, and 
while quenching my thirst with an orange fell asleep. 
The last that I remembered was seeing Nicolas drive 
into the hut a miserable half-starved chicken. At two 
o'clock he woke. me, and set before me the unfortunate 
little bird, nearly burned up, the expense of which, 
with oranges ad libitum, was six and a quarter cents, 
which the old woman wished to commute for a charge 
of gunpowder. I was very poor in this, and would 
rather have given her a dollar, but could not help add- 
ing the charge of gunpowder to the coin. 

At two o'clock we set off again. We had already 
made a day's journey, but I had a good resting-place 
for the night in view. It was excessively hot, but very 
soon we reached the woods again. We had not gone 
far before a deer crossed our path. It was the first I 
had seen in the country, which was almost destitute of 
all kinds of game. Indeed, during my whole journey, 
except at the wild turkey, I had fired but twice, and then 
merely to procure curious birds ; and most unfortunate- 


fidliiig back into despotism. He had been peraecnted, 
heavj contributions had been laid upon his property, 
and four years before he had withdrawn from Cartago 
and retired to this hacienda. But political animosity 
never dies. A detachment of soldiers was sent to ar- 
rest him, and, that no suspicion might be excited, they 
were sent by sea, and landed at a port on the Pacific 
within the bounds of his own estate, Don Juan re- 
ceived an intimation of their approach, and sent a ser- 
vant to reconnoitre, who returned with intelligence that 
they were within half a day's march. He mounted bis 
horse to escape, but near his own gate was thrown, and 
his leg badly broken. He was carried back insensible, 
and when the soldiers arrived they found him in bed ; 
but they made him rise, put him on horseback, hurried 
him to the frontiers of the state, and left him, commu- 
nicating to him his sentence of banishment, and death 
if he returned. The boundary-line of the State of 
Costa Rica is a river in the midst of a wilderness, and 
he was obliged to travel on horseback to Nicaragua, a 
journey of four days. He had never recovered the 
use of his leg, which was two or three inches shorter 
than the other. He remained two years in exile ; and 
on the election of Don Manuel de Aguila as chief of 
the state, returned. On the expulsion of Don Manuel 
he retired again to his hacienda, and was then busily 
engaged in making repairs for the reception of his fam- 
ily ; but he did not know at what moment another or« 
der might come to expel him from his home. 

While sitting at the supper-table we heard a noise 
over our heads, which seemed to me like the opening 
of the roof. Don Juan threw his eyes to the ceiling, 
and suddenly started from his chair, threw his arms 
around the neck of a servant, and with the fearful 

JaMfcfc»i*i ^i . 

▲ M BA&TflQUAKB. 38S 

vonki '^temUor!" «' temblor !" ''an earthquake!'' 
*^ an earthquake !" all rushed for the doors. I sprang 
from my chairi made one Ibound across the roomi and 
cleared the piazza. The earth rolled like the pitching 
of a ship in a heavy sea. My step was high, my feet 
barely touched the ground, and my arms were thrown 
up involuntarily to save myself from falling. I was the 
last to start, but, once under way, I was the last to stop. 
Half way across the yard I stumbled over a man on his 
knees, and fell. I never felt myself so feeble a thing 
before. At this moment I heard Don Jucm calling to 
me. He was leaning on the shoulder of his servant, 
with his face to the door, crying to me to come out of 
the house. It was pitchy dark ; within was the table at 
which we had sat, with a single candle, the light of 
which extended far enough to show a few of the kneel- 
ing figures, with their faces to the door. We looked 
anxiously in, and waited for the shock which should 
prostrate the strong walls and lay the roof on the ground. 
There was something awful in our position, with our 
faces to the door, shunning the place which at all other 
times offers shelter to man. The shocks were contin- 
/ ued perhaps two minutes, during which time it required 
an effort to stand firm. The return of the earth to 
steadiness was almost as violent as the shock. We 
wailed a few minutes after the last vibration, when Don 
Juan said it was over, and, assisted by his servant, en- 
tered the house. I had been the last to leave it, but I 
was the last to return ; and my chair lymg with its back 
on the floor, gave an intimation of the haste with which 
I had decamped. The houses in Costa Rica are the 
best in the country for resisting these shocks, being, 
like the others, long and low, and built of adobes, or 
undried bricks, two feet long and one broad, made of 


clay mixed with straw to give adhesion, and laid when 
soft, with upright posts between, so that thej are dried 
by the son into one mass, wMch moves with the surfiice 
of the earth. 

Before the evening was over I forgot the earthquake 
in a minor trouble. The uncultivated grounds of Cen- 
tral America teem with noxious insects. Biding all 
day in the woods, and striking my head against the 
branches of trees, had brought ticks down upon me in 
such numbers that I brushed them off with my hand. I 
had suffered so much during the day, that twice I was 
obliged to strip at a stream and tear them out of my 
flesh; but this gave me only temporary relief; lumps 
of irritation were left ; and in the midst of serious dis- 
quisitions with Don Juan, it was not polite, but I was 
obliged to use my nails violently and constantly. I 
was fain to entreat of him that he would go out and 
give me the room to myself. He retired, and in a mo- 
ment all my clothes were out of doors, and I tore the 
vipers out by the teeth ; but Don Juan sent to my re- 
lief a deaf and dumb boy, who, by touching them with 
a ball of black wax, drew them from their burrowing- 
places without any pain ; yet they left behind wounds \ 
from which I did not recover in a long time; 

Early in the morning two horses were at the door, 
and two servants in attendance for a ride. Don Juan 
mounted the same horse which he had ridden in his 
exile, and was attended by the same servants. Here- 
tofore I had always heard constant complaints of ser- 
vants, and to do them justice, I think they are the worst 
I ever knew ; but Don Juan's were the best in the 
world, and it was evident that they thought he was the 
best master. 

The estate of Don Juan covered as much ground aa 


m German principality, containing two hundred thou- 
sand acres, and was bounded on bne side, for a long 
distance, by the Pacific Ocean. But a small portion of 
it was cultivated, not more than enough to raise maize 
for the workmen, and the rest was a roaming-ground 
for cattle. More than ten thousand were wandering 
over it, almost as wild as the deer, and never seen ex- 
cept as they crossed a path in the woods, or at the^ sea- 
son of lazoing them for the purpose of taking an ac- 
count of the increase. 

We had not gone far before we saw three deer all 
close together, and not far from us. It was exceeding- 
ly vexatious, the first time I was in a country where 
there was anything to shoot at, to be so wholly unpro- 
vided, and I had no diance of supplying myself till I 
was out of that region. Don Juan was incapacitated 
for ^porting by his lameness ; in fact, deer-shooting was 
not considered sporting, and venison not fit to eat. In 
the course of an hour we saw more than twenty. 

I had set out on this long journey without any cargo- 
mule, from the difficulty of procuring one that could 
keep pace with the riding-beasts ; but we had felt th^ 
inconvenience of being encumbered with luggage ; and^ 
besides Don Juan's kindness to me at his house, he fur- 
nished me with one which he had broken expressly for 
his own use in rapid journeys between Cartago and the 
hacienda, and which he warranted me, with a light load, 
would trot and keep up with mine. 

Late in the afternoon I left his hospitable dwelling* 
Don Juan, with his deaf and dumb boy, accompanied 
me a league on the way, when we dismounted and took 
leave of each other. My new mule, like myself, was 
very reluctant to leave Don Juan, and seemed to have 
a sentiment that she should never see her old master 

Vol. 1.-4 C 33 


deserted me. Two little boys had taken posseseion ci 
the leather bed ; the old lady had retired ; the beautiful 
little cartaret remained unoccupied, and the young lady 
withdrew, telling me that this was to be my bed. I 
do not know why, but I felt uneasy. * I opened the mos- 
cheto«net. In that country beds are not used, and an 
oxhide or mat, often not so clean as it might be, is the 
substitute. This was a mat, very fine, and clean as if 
perfectly new. At the head was a lovely pillow witib 
a pink muslin covering) and over it a thin white pillow- 
oase with a bewitching ruffle. Whose cheek had rested 
on that pillow ? I pulled off my coat, walked up and 
down the room, and waked up one of the boys. It 
was as I supposed. I lay down, but could not sleep, 
and determined not to continue my journey the next 

At three o'clock the guide knocked at the door. The 
mules were already saddled, and Nicolas was putting 
on the luggage. I had often clung to my pillow, but 
never as I did to that pink one with its ruffled border. 
I told Nicolas that the guide must go home and wait 
another day. The guide refused. It was the young 
man ; his father had already gone, and had ordered 
him to follow. Very soon I heard a light footstep, and 
a soft voice expostulating with the guide. Indignant at 
his obstinacy, I ordered him away ; but very soon I 
reflected that I could not procure another, and might 
lose the great object I had in view in making this long 
joiuney. I called him back, and attempted to bribe him ; 
but his only answer was, that his father had started at 
the rising of the moon, and ordered him to follow. At 
length it was arranged that he should go and overtake 
his father and bring him back ; but perhaps his father 
would not come. I was pertinacious until I carried the 


pointy and then I was more indifferent. After all, wkj 
ahonld I wait ? Nioolaa said we coold get oar dotliea 
washed in Nicaragua. I walked out of doors, and 
resolTed that it was foUy to lose the ehance of ex« 
^frp"''*g a canal roate for the belle of Guanacaste. I 
harried through my prqwrations, and bade her, I may 
say, an affectionate fsrewelL There is not the least 
chance that I shaU erer see her again. Living in a so* 
eluded town, unknown beyond the borders of itB own 
unknown state, between the Andes and Pacific Ocean^ 
probably she is already the happy wife of some worthy 
townsman, and has forgotten the stranger who owes to 
her some of the bi4>piest moments he passed in Central 

It was now broad daylight. It was Tery rare that I 
had left a place with so much regret ; but I turned my 
sorrow into anger, and wreaked it upon Nicolas and the 
guide. The wind was very high, and, sweeping over 
the great plain, raised such clouds of dust as made ri- 
ding both disagreeable and difficult. This ought to 
have had some effect in restoring my equanimity, but it 
did not. Ail day we had on our right the grand range 
of Cordilleras, and crowning it at this point the great 
volcanoes of Bincon and Orosi. From thence a vast 
plain, over which the wind swept furiously, extended to 
the sea. At one o'clock we came in sight of the haci- 
enda of Santa Teresa, standing on a great elevation, 
and still a long way before us. The hacienda was the 
property of Don Augustin Gutierres of San JosS, and, 
with two others, was under the charge of his son Don 
Manuel. A letter from his father had advised him of 
my coming, and he received me as an old acquaintance. 
The situation of the house was finer than that of any I 
had seen. It was high, and commanded a view of an 


immense plain, studded with trees in groups and in 
forest. The ocean was not visible, but we could sesi 
the opposite coast of the Gulf of Nicoya, and the point 
of the port of Colubre, the finest on the Pacific, only 
three and a half leagues distant. The hacienda con- 
tained a thousand raares and four hundred horses, 
more than a hundred of which were in sight from 
the door. It was grand enough to give the owner 
ideas of empire. Toward evening I counted from the 
door of the house seventeen deer, and Don Manoei 
told me that he had a contract for' furnishing twor 
thousand skins. In the season a good hunter gets 
twenty-five a day. Even the workmen will not eat 
them, and they are only shot for the hide and horns. 
He had forty workmen, and an ox was killed every 
day. Near the house was an artificial lake, more than 
a mile in circumference, built as a drinking-place for 
cattle. And yet the proprietors of these haciendas are' 
not rich ; the ground is worth absolutely nothing. The 
whole value is in the stock ; and allowing ten dollars a 
head for the horses and mares would probably give the 
full value of this apparently magnificent estate. 

Here, too, I could have passed a week with great sat- 
isfaction, but the next morning I resumed my journey. 
Though early in the dry season, the ground was parch- 
ed and the streams were dried up. We carried a large 
calabash with water, and stopping under the shade of 
a tree, turned our mules out on the plain and break- 
fasted. I was riding in advance, with my poncha flying 
in the wind, when I saw a drove of cattle stop and look- 
wildly at me, and then rush furiously toward me. I at- 
tempted to run, but, remembering the bullfights at 
Guatimala, I tore ofi* my poncha, and had just time to 
get behind a high rock as the whole herd darted by at 

Vol.— I. 3 D 


their foil speed. We continued our route, from time to 
time catching glimpses of the Pacific, till we reached 
a clear, open place, completely protected from the wind, 
and called the Boca of the Mountain of Nicaragua. A 
large caravan had already encamped, and among the 
muleteers Nicolas found acquaintances from San Jose. 
Their cargoes consisted of potatoes, sweet bread, and 
dolces for Nicaragua. 

Toward evening I climbed to the top of one of the 
hills, and had a magnificent sunset view. On the tap 
the wind blew so fiercely that I was obliged to shelter 
myself under the lee. Behind me was the great range 
of Cordilleras, along which we had ridden all day, with 
their volcanoes ; on the left the headlands of the bays 
of Tortugas and Salina, and in front the great body 
of the Pacific Ocean ; and what was quite as agreeable 
a spectacle to a traveller, my mules were up to their 
knees in grass. I returned to the encampment, and 
found that my guide had made me a casita, or small 
house to sleep in. It was formed by cutting two sticks 
about four feet high, and as thick as a man's arm, and 
driving them into the ground, with a crotch in the top. 
Another stick Avas laid in the crotches, and against this 
other sticks were laid slanting, with leaves and branch- 
es wound in between them, so as to protect me from 
the dew, and tolerably well from the wind. 

I never had a servant in Central America who was 
not a brute with mules. I was obliged to look out my- 
self for their food, and also to examine that their backs 
were not hurt by the saddles. My macho I always sad- 
dled myself. Nicolas had saddled the cargo-mule so bad- 
ly the day before, that when he took off the apparecho 
(a huge saddle covering half the beast) the shoulder was 
raw, and in the morning even pointing at it made her 

. li. .._-__ 



shrink as if touched with a hot iron. I was unwilling 
to put the apparecho upon her back, and tried to hire a 
mule from one of the muleteersi but could not, and, 
putting the cargo upon the other mule, made Nicolas 
walk, and the cargo-raule go loose. • I left the appare* 
cho in the boca of the mountain : a great piece of 
profligacy, as Nicolas and the guide considered it. 

We wound for a short distance among the hills that 
enclosed us, ascended a slight range, and came down 
directly upon the shore of the sea. I always had a 
high feeling when I touched the shore of the Pacifie, 
and never more so than at this desolate plaee. The 
waves rolled grandly, and broke with a solemn roar. 
The mules were startled, and my macho shrank from 
the heaving water. I qrarred him into it, and at a mo- 
ment when I was putting in my pocket some shells 
which Nicolas had picked up, he ran away. He had 
attempted it several times before in the woods; and 
now, having a fair chance, I gave Jiim the foil sweep 
of the coast. We continued nearly an hour on the 
shore, when we crossed a hj^, rough headland, and 
again came down afyon the sea. Foqr times we mount* 
ed headlands and again descended to the shore, and tte 
heat became almost intolerable. The fifth ascent was 
steep, but we came upon a table covered with a thick 
forest, through which we proceeded until we came to a 
small clearing with two huts. We stopped at the first, 
which was occupied by a black man and his wife. Ha 
had plenty of corn; there was a fine pasture-ground 
neari so hemmed in by the woods that there was no 
dwfiger of the mules escaping, and I hired the man and 
woman to sleep out of doers, and give me <the hevel to 



TIm Floral.— The Sad Joan.— Natnre*t Solitade.— Primithrt Cookery.— Htiboor 
of San Jaan.— Route of the Great Caiial to connect the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceana.— Nicaragua.— Surrey for the Canal— Lake of Nicaragua.— Plan of 
the Canal- Lockage.— Eatimate of Coat.— Former Eflurta to conatract tiw 
Canal— Ita AdTantagea. — Central American Hoapitality.— Tiena Calienic. — 
Horrora of Civil War. 


I ROSE about an hour before daylight, and was in my 
saddle by break of day. We watered our mules at the 
River Flores, the boundary«line of the states of Costa 
Bioa and Nicaragua. In an hour we reached Skamaika, 
the name given to a single hut occupied by a negro, 
sick and alone. He was lying on a bedstead made of 
sticks, the very picture of wretchedness and des<^ation,^ 
worn to a skeleton by fever and ague. Soon after we 
came to another hut, where two women were sick with 
fever. Nothing could be more wretched than these huts 
along the Pacific. They asked me for remedies, and I 
gave them some quinine, but with little hope of their 
ever benefiting by it. Probably both the negro and 
tiliey are now in their graves. 

At twelve o'clock we reached the River St. John, the 
mouth of which was the terminating point of the great 
canal. The road to Nicaragua crossed the stream, 
and ours followed it to the sea, the port being situated 
at its mouth. Our whole road had been desolate enough, 
but this far surpassed anything I bad seen ; and as I 
looked at the little path that led to Nicaragua, I felt as 
if we were leaving a great highway. The valley of the 
river is about a hundred yards broad, and in the season 
of rain the whole is covered with water ; but at this 
time the stream was small, and a great part of its bed 


dry. The stones were bleached by the sun, and there 
was no track or impression which gave the slightest in^ 
dication of a path. Very soon this stony bed became 
contracted and lost ; the stream ran through a different 
soil, and high grass, shrubs, and bushes grew luxuriant- 
ly up to its bank. We searched for the track on both 
sides of the river, and it was evident that since the last 
wet season no person had passed. Leaving the river, 
the bushes were higher than our heads, and so thick 
that at every two or three paces I became entangled and 
held fiast ; at length I dismounted, and my guide clear- 
ed a way for me on foot with his machete. Soon w6 
reached the stream again, crossed it, and entered the* 
same dense mass on the opposite side. In this way we 
continued nearly two hours, with the river for our line. 
We crossed it more than twenty times, and when it 
was shallow rode in its bed. Farther down the valley 
was open, stony, and barren, and the sun beat npon it 
with prodigious force ; flocks of sopilotes or turkey-bus* 
zsffds, hardly disturbed by our approach, moved away 
on a slow walk, or, with a laxy flap of the wings, rose 
to a low branch of the nearest tree. In one place ft 
swarm of the ugly birds were feasting on the carcass of 
an alligator. Wild turkeys were more numerous than 
we had seen them before, and so tame that I shot cme 
with a pistol. Deer looked at us without alarm, and oi^ 
each side of the valley large black upes walked on the 
tops of the trees, an sat quietly in the branches, looking* 
at us. Crossing the river for the last time, which be-*' 
came broader and deeper until it emptied into the Pa* 
cific, we entered the woods on the right, and reached 
the first station of Mr. Bailey ; but it was covered with 
young trees and bushes ; the woods were thicker than 
^ before, and the patb entirely undistinguishable. I had 


■•- 'i^i^lKV' 



We had made provision, as we supposed, for three days ; 
but, as iisnal^ it always happened that, however abun- 
dant, it did not last more than one. At this time all was 
eaten up by ourselves or by vermin ; and, but for the 
wild turkey, we should have been obliged to dine upon 
chocolate. It was a matter of deeply-interesting con- .' 
sideration how the turkey should be cooked. Boiling il 
was the best way ; but we had nothing to boil it in except 
a small coflfec-pot. We attempted to make a gridiroa 
of our stirrups, and broil it ; but those of Nicolas were 
wooden, and mine alone were not large enough. Roast- 
ing wns a long and tedious process ; but our guide had 
often been in such straits ; and fixing in the ground two 
sticks with crotches, he laid another across, split open 
the turkey, and securing it by sticks crosswise, hung it 
like a spread eagle before a blazing fire. When onf 
side was burned, he turned the other. In an hour it 
was cooked, and in less than ten minutes eaten up. A 
cup of chocolate, heavy enough to keep it from rising if 
it had been eaten with its wings on, followed, and I had 

Rested and refreshed, I walked down to the shore. 
Our encampment was about in the centre of the harbour, 
which was th^ finest I saw on the Pacific. It is not 
large, but beautifully protected, being almost in the form 
of the letter U. The arms are high and parallel, run« ^ 
ning nearly north and south, and terminating in high 
perpendicular blufls. As I afterward learned from Mr; 
Bailey, the water is deep, and under either bluff, ac* 
cording to the wind, vessels of the largest class can ride 
with perfect safety. Supposing this to be correct, there 
is but one objection to this harbour, which I derive from 
Captain D'Yriarlc, with whom I made the voyage from 
Zonzonate to Caldera. He has been nine years navi* 


gating the coast of the Pacific, from Peru to the Oiilf of 
California, and has made valuable notes, which he in- 
tends publishing in France ; and he told me that during 
the summer months, from November to May, the strong 
north winds which sweep over the Lake of Nicaragua 
pass with such violence through the Gulf of Papajayo, 
that, during the prevalence of these winds, it is* almost 
impossible for a vessel to enter the port of San Juan. 
Whether this is true to the extent that Captain D' Yriarte 
supposes, and if true, how far steam tugs would answer 
to bring vessels in against such a wind, is for others to 
determine. But at the moment there seemed more pal- 
pable difficulties. 

I ^valked along the shore down to the estuary of the 
river, which was here broad and deep. This was the 
proposed termination of the great canal to connect the 
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. I had read and examined 
all that had been published on this subject in England 
or this country ; had conferred with individuals ; and I 
liad been sanguine, almost enthusiastic, in regard to this 
gigantic enterprise ; but on the spot the scales fell from 
my eyes. The harbour was perfectly desolate; for 
years not a vessel had entered it ; primeval trees grew 
suround it ; for miles there was not a habitation. I walk- 
ed the shore alone. Since Mr. Bailey left not a person 
had visited it ; and probably the only thing tjbat keeps 
h alive even in memory is the theorizing of scientific 
men, or the occasional visit of some Nicaragua fisher- 
man, who, too lazy to work, seeks his food in the sea. 
It seemed preposterous to consider it the focus of a great 
commercial enterprise ; to imagine that a city was to 
rise up out of the forest, the desolate harbour to be filled 
with ships, and become a great portal for the thorough- 
fare of nations. But the scene was magnificent. The 


RovTB OP rns orbat canal. 401 

• « 

snn was setting, and the high western headland threw a 

deep shade over the water. It was perhaps the last 

time in my life that I should see the Pacific ; and in 

spite of fever and ague tendencies, I bathed once more 

in the great ocean. 

It was after dark when I returned to my encamp* 
ment. My attendants had not been idle ; blazing logs 
of wood, piled three or four feet high, lighted up the 
darkness of the forest. We heard the barking of wolves^ 
the scream of the mountain-cat, and other wild beasts 
of the forest. I \vrapped myself in my poncha and lay 
down to sleep. Nicolas threw more wood upon the 
burning pile ; and, as he stretched himself on the ground^ 
hoped we would not be obliged to pass another night in 
this desolate place. 

In the morning I had more trouble. My gray mule 
running loose, and drinking at every stream, with her 
girths tight, had raised a swelling eight or ten inches. 
I attempted to put the cargo on my macho, with the in« 
tention of walking myself; but it was utterly, impossible 
to manage him, and I was obliged to transfer it to the 
raw back of the cargo-mule. 

At seven o'clock we started, recrossed the stream at 
which wc had procured water, and returned to the first 
station of Mr. Bailey. It was on the River San Juan, a 
mile and a half from the sea. The river here had suffi* 
eient depth of water for large vessels, and from thia 
point Mr. Bailey commenced his survey to the Lake of 
Nicaragua. I sent Nicolas with the mules by the di- 
rect road, and set out with my guide to follow, as far as 
practicable, his line of survey. I did not know, until I 
found myself in this wilderness, how fortunate I had 
been in securing this guide. He had been Mr, Bailey*d 
pioneer in the whole of his exploration. He was a dark 

Vou L— 3 E 



the mountain was yerj ateep, and besides large treeis 
was full of brambles, thorn-bushes, and ticks. I was 
obliged to dismount and lead my macho ; the dark skin 
of my guide glistened with perspiration, and it was al> 
most a climb till we reached the top. 

Coming out into the road, the change was beautifuL 
It was about ten feet wide, straight, and shaded by the 
noblest trees in the Nicaragua forests. In an hour wa 
reached the boca of the mountain, where Nicolas was 
waiting with the mules under the shade of a large tree, 
which threw its branches fifty feet from its trunk, and 
seemed reared by a beneficent hand for the shelter of a 
weary traveller. Soon we reached another station of 
Mr. Bailey. Looking back, I saw the two great niount* 
ain ranges, standing like giant portals, and could but 
think what a magnifioent spectacle it would be to see a 
ship, with all its spars and rigging, cross the plain, pass 
through the great door, and move on to the Pacific. 
Beyond, the whole plain was on fire ; the long grass, 
scorched by the summer's sun, crackled, flashed, and 
burned like powder. The road was a sheet of flame, 
and when the fire had passed the earth was black and 
hot. We rode some distaace on the smoking ground 
along the line of flame, and finding a favourable place, 
spurred the mules through ; but part of the luggage took 
fire, my face and hands were scorched, and my whole 
body heated. 

Off* from the road, on the edge of the woods, tmd 
near the Biver Las Lahas, was another station of Mr. 
Bailey. From that place the line runs direct over a 
plain till it strikes the same river near the Lake of Nic« 
aragua. I attempted to follow the lines again, but 
was prevented by the growth of underwood. 

It was late in the afternoon, and I hurried on to 


reach the Camino Real. Beautiful as the whole conn* 
try had been, I found nothing equal to this two hours 
before entering Nicaragua. Tiie fields were covered 
with high grass, studded with noble trees, and border* 
ed at a distance by a dark forest, while in front, high 
and towering, of a conical form, rose the beautiful vol- 
cano of the island. Herds of cattle gave it a home-like 

Toward dark we again entered the woods, and for 
an hour saw nothing, but at length heard the distant 
sound of the vesper bell, and very soon were greeted by 
the barking of dogs in the suburbs of Nic&ragua. Fires 
were burning in the streets, which served as kitchens 
for the miserable inhabitants, and at which they were 
cooking their suppers. We passed round a miserable 
plaza, and stopped at the house of 4be Licenciado Pine- 
da. A large door was wide open ; the licenciado was 
swinging in one hammock, his wife and a mulatto 
woman in another. I dismounted and entered his 
house, and told him that I had a letter to him from Don 
Manuel de Aguila. He asked me what I wished, and 
when I told him a night's lodging, said that he could 
accommodate me, but had*no room for the mules. I 
told him that I would go to the cura, and be said that 
the cura could do no better than he. In a word, his 
reception of me was very cool. I was indignant, and 
went to the door, but without it was dark as Erebus. 
[ had made a long and tiresome joiumey through a des- 
olate country, and that day had been one of extreme 
labour. The first words of kindness came from the 
lady of the licenciado. I was so tired that I was almost 
ready to fall ; I had left San Jos6 with the fever and 
ague, had been twelve days in the saddle, and the last 
two nights I had slept in the open fields. I owe it to 


bothy however, to saj, that, the ice once broken, they 
did all they could for my comfort ; and, in fact, treated 
me with distinguished attention. A travelled never 
forgets the kindness shown him in a strange land, and 
I never feit 90 sensible of it as in Central America ; in 
other countries, with money, a man can command com- 
forts ; there, whatever his means may be, he is entirely 
dependant upon individual hospitality. 

The whole of the next morning I devoted to making 
inquiries on the subject of the canal route. More is 
known of it in the United States than at. Nicaragua. I 
did not find one man who had been to the port of San 
Juan, or even who knew Mr. Bailey's terminating point 
on the Lake of Nicaragua. I was obliged to send for 
my old guide, and after a noonday dinner started for 
the lake. The town consisted of a large collection of 
straggling houses, without a single object of interest* 
Though the richest state in the confederacy in natural 
gifts, the population is the most miserable. 

Passing through the suburbs, very soon we entered 
the woods and rode under a beautiful shade. We met 
no one. Before reaching the lake we heard the wave« 
breaking upon the shore like the waves of the sea, and 
when we emerged from the woods the view before us 
was grand. On one side no land was visible ; a strong 
north wind was sweeping over the lake, and its surface 
was violently agitated; the waves rolled and broke 
upon the shore with solemn majesty, and oppoaite, in 
the centre of the lake, were the islands of Isola and 
Madeira, with giant volcanoes rising, as if to scale the 
heavens. The great Volcano of Omotepeque reminded 
me of Moimt Etna, rising, like the pride of Sicily, from 
the water's edge, a smooth unbroken cone, to the height 
of nearly six thousand feet. 


We rode for an hour along the shore, and so near 
the water that we were wetted by the spray. The 
bank was all wooded ; and in one place, on a little 
clearing by the side of a stream, was a hnt occupied by 
a mulatto, the view from which princes, might envy. 
Farther on we passed some women washing, and at a 
distance of a league and a half reached the River Las 
Lahas, according to Mr. Bailey's survey the termina- 
ting point on the lake. A flock of wild-fowl were sit- 
ting on the water, and long-logged birds, with wings 
outstretched, were walking on the shore. 

I had now examined, as well as circumstances would 
permit, the canal route from the Pacific to the Lake of 
Nicaragua. A direction had been given to my investi- 
gations by getting on the track of Mr. Bailey's survey ; 
but I should be able to communicate nothing if it were 
not for Mr. Bailey himself, whom I afterward met at 
Grenada. This gentleman is a half-pay officer in the 
British navy. Two years before he was employed by 
the government of Central America to make a survey 
of this canal route, and he had completed all except the 
survey of an unimportant part of the River San Juan 
when the revolution broke out. The states' declared 
their independence of the general government, and dis- 
claimed all liability for its debts. Mr. Bailey had giv- 
en his time and labour, and when I saw him had sent 
his son to make a last appeal to the shadow of the Fed- 
eral Government ; but before he reached the capital this 
government was utterly annihilated, and Mr. Bailey re- 
mains with no reward for his arduous services but the 
satisfaction of having been a pioneer in a noble work. 
On my arrival at Grenada he laid before me all his maps 
and drawings, with liberty to make what use of them I 
pleased. I passed an qntire day in taking notes and 


CbaliM. EltTadM hi Ciif. 

33a.«5 410.534 

836.93 To this point national lands 893.316 

840.38 Third limMtone rock. Boring 31^ foet, water ; 

49 feet, limMtone, tod and loot* ••..350!776 

868.50 ' 311153 

86140 318 335 

3T0.55 391.410 

87385 395.160 

883.86 1 383.353 

401.04 369.336 

409.30 358.878 

413.51 361.486 

433.75 Water on the aurface. Boring 3 feet, aand ; IS 

feet, earth 347.780 

437.55 337.57)0 

448.90 350.370 

464.78 338.887 

477.T6 314.695 

- 489.39 300J80 

Between this and neit, boring 5 feel, eaith ; 10 

feet, white claj ; 1^ feet, water ; 88 feet, 

aofi atone. 

566.33 184.511 

51053 186869 

51947 180.344 

533.04 170161 

543.35 159.311 

545.98 166*411 

553.85 158.786 

In the next aiz ataliooa the elevAtkma do not differ 

one feot. 

604.83 153.461 

613.63 160.077 

633.54 Water on the aorfece. Boring 13 feet, aand and 

, hard alone. Thie atation ia in a bole of the 

Qaebrada, rery deep 149.553 

637.37 160.053 

630.33 149.336 

634.30 157.103 

63886 147.014 

64331 : 154.785 

685.55 143343 

661.35 155.076 


Oite. BmOn h Bb«. Am. 
Wi.47 140.M3 

• niM „ iM.ii6 

SKM _ 1S9.3U 

«t5.M 1U.M7 

6IB.M 1«.»77 


7ltM IU.436 

716.17 149.151 

TM.» ltt.W4 

T»» ;... 14B.US 

7W.» 1S0.7M 

74B.10 V 1H.3W 

766.40 149.6M 

760.80 U4^M 

766.80 Ul.lJT 

770.61 Wiiuit8fML Boring IS fMt,bbckMith; SS 

(MtiirtiitBcUj; 4fart,iMnB ltt.718 

774.78 140.BM 

770.48 , l4X.7a 

805.M 1M.48> 

808.31 Witat oo tba mcfua. Boriif S ftat, nnd ; IS 

iM^■toD■ 1S4J10 

81101 1S0.1SS 

818.77 ...,., 1S9.80S 

•Sa.« 134,377 

e37.« 190.9H 

341.76 1S0.488 

04S.4O l».Wt 

In lii Mition* tbue i« ■ dibruiM of bnt &oni 
oiM U lira bat. 
S8D.U U'kleran the amUce. Baiiog 9 fMl, ItWM and ; 

lBrM^M>ltMoM IM.S60 

«87.i»3 107,668 

B9I.06 133.908 

901.83 IIS 118 

010.80 190.688 

In (bar aUliani (bate ia ■ diffaranca of bnl ona 
881.74 Bating 8 faM, black airtli ; 10 faal, whiu mod ; 

18rect,aoft alou 

087.68 117.178 

•71.48 108.80S 

076.80 _.... 186.16S 

Vol. I.— 3 P 35 


ment taken in the month of May, 1839, was twenty- 
eight thousand one hundred and seventy-eight cubic 
yards of water per minute, and in the month of July of 
the same year, during the rising of the waters, it was 
eighty-five thousand eight hundred and forty yards per 
minute, which immense body might be saved to the 
San Juan by damming up the mouth of the Biver Colo- - 
rado. From this point there are thirteen miles, with 
soundings of from three to eight fathoms. The bottom , 
is of sand and mud, and there are many small islands 
and aggregations of sand without trees, very easily 
cleared away. The last thirteen miles might be re- 
duced to ten by restoring the river to its old channel, 
which has been filled up by collections, at points, of 
drifted matter. An old master of a piragua told Mr. 
B. that within his memory trees grew half a mile 
back. The soundings were all taken with the plotting- 
scale when the river was low, and the port of San Juan, 
though small, Mr. Bailey considers unexceptionable. 

The foregoing memoranda were placed in the hands 
of my firiend Mr. Horatio Allen (now engaged as en- 
gineer on our Croton Aqueduct), who has kindly pre- 
pared from them the plan opposite. 

I ought perhaps to remark, for the benefit of those 
who are not familiar with such plans, that in order to 
bring the profile of the country within a small compass, 
the vertical lines, which represent elevations and de- 
pressions, are on a scale many times greater than the 
base Hnes or horizontal distances. Of the former, the 
scale is one thousand feet, and of the latter it is twen- 
ty miles to the inch. This, of course, gives a distorted 
view of the country; but, to preserve the relative pro- 
portions, it would be necessary for the base line in the 
plan to be one thousand times longer. 

The whole length of the canal firom the Lake of Nic« 

^.J»^Mj^fc|-M ^ 











mmmmmm^t ' ifcfcii ' i . . i^^^^-** 


mragua to the Pacific is fifteen and two third miles. 
According to the plan, in the first eight miles from the 
lake but one lock is necessary. In the next mile sixty. 
four feet of lockage are required. In the next three 
miles there are about two of deep cutting and one of 
tunnel, and then a descent of two hundred feet in three 
miles by lockage, to the Pacific. 

Thus far of the canal across the isthmus. The Lake 
of Nicaragua is navigable for ships of the largest class . 
down to the mouth of the River San Juan. This river 
has an average fall of one and six sevenths feet per 
mile to the Atlantic. If the bed of the river cannot be 
cleared out, a communication can be made either by 
lock and dam, or by a canal along the bank of the riv- 
er. The latter would be more expensive, but, on ac- 
count of the heavy floods of the rainy season, it is pref- 

I am authorized to state that the physical obstruc- 
tions of the country present no impediment to the ac- 
complishment of this work. A canal large enough 
for the passage of boats of the usual size could be 
made at a trifling expense. A tunnel of the length 
required is not considered a great work in the United 
States. According to the plan of the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal, a tunnel is contemplated upward of four 
miles in length. The sole difficulty is the same which 
would exist in any route in any other region of coun- 
try, viz., the great dimensions of the excavation re- 
quired for a ship canal. 

The data here given are, of course, insufficient for 
great accuracy ; but I present a rough estimate of the 
cost of this work, furnished me with the plan. It is • 
predicated upon the usual contract prices in the United 
States, and I think I am safe in saying that the cheap- 


means of a treaty, ^^ effectually to secure its advantages 
to the two nations*" 

A c)iarg6 d'affaires was appointed by our government, 
who was specially instructed to assure the government 
of Central America of the deep interest taken by that 
of the United States in the execution of an undertaking 
^^ so highly calculated to diffuse an extensive influence 
on the affairs a( mankind," and to investigate with the 
greatest care the facilities offered by the route, and to ^ 
remit the information to the United States. 

Unfortunately, being far removed from the capital, 
none of our diplomatic agents ever visited the spot; but 
in 1826, as appears by documents accompanying the 
report of a committee of the House of Representatives 
on a memorial ^^ praying the aid of the government of 
the United States in procuring the construction of a ship 
channel or navigable canal across the isthmus between 
North and South America," a contract was made by 
the government of Central America with the agent of a 
New- York company, imder the name, style, and des- 
ignation of the '^ Central American and United States' 
Atlantic and Pacific Canal Company." The names of 
Dewitt Clinton and others of the most distinguished men 
of that day appear as associates, but the scheme fell 

In 1830 the government of Central America made 
another contract with a society of the Netherlands, un- 
der the special patronage of the King of Holland, who 
embarked in it a large amount of his private fortune ; 
but, owing to the difficulties between Holland and Bel- 
gium, and the separation of the two countries, this also 
fell through. 

On the third of March, 1835, a resolution passed the 
Senate of the United States, '^ that the president be re- 

422 IirCIDEMTS OP tbatsl. 

were sleeping a woman, rather yellow, and a little girL 
I took chocolate, and in a few minutes was in the sad- 
dle. Very soon we came in sight of the highlands of 
Buombacho, a high, dark range of mountains, behind 
which stood Grenada, which in half an hour we en- 
tered. Built by those hardy adventurers who con- 
quered America, even yet it is a monument worthy of 
their fame. The houses are of stone, large and spa- 
cious, with balconies to the windows of turned wood, 
and projecting roofis, with pendent ornaments of wood 
ouriously carved. 

I rode to the house of Don Prederico Derbyshire, to 
whom I had a letter from friends in New- York. He 
had gone to the United States ; but his clerk, a young 
Englishman, oflFered me the house, gave me a room, 
and in a few moments my travelling clothes were off 
and I was in the street. My first visit was to Mr. Bai- 
ley, who lived nearly opposite, with an English lady, 
whose husband had died two years before, and who, 
besides carrying on his business, received into her house 
the few Englishmen or foreigners whom ch*an($e brought 
to that place. My appearance at Grenada created sur- 
prise, and I was congratulated upon my liberation or 
escape from prison. News had reached there that I 
had been arrested (I do not know for what), and was in 
prison in San Salvador ; and as all news had a party 
bias, it was told as another of the outrages of General 
Mopazan. The house of this lady was a comfort to a 
battered traveller. I could have remained there a 
month ; but, unfortunately, I heard news which did not 
allow me much time for rest. The black clouds which 
hung over the political horizon had burst, and civil war 
rhad broken out anew. The troops of Nicaragua, four- 
teen hundred strong, had marched into Honduras, and 

1. ■'.i.^^.tld :S9 

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